Wednesday, January 18, 2017

W... W... W... January 18th, 2017 ~ #2

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading? 
Isabella; The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey 

An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history

Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León.

Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing Moorish invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inquisition that would darken Spain's reputation for centuries.

Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, where millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored.

Using new scholarship, Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command.
What did you recently finish reading? 
The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
A fiercely beautiful debut blazing with emotion: a major first novel about friendships made in youth and how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or sustain. 

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can't quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend's life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further-and there is nothing 
Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both. A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt

He found Rome made of clay and left it made of marble. As Rome’s first emperor, Augustus transformed the unruly Republic into the greatest empire the world had ever seen. His consolidation and expansion of Roman power two thousand years ago laid the foundations, for all of Western history to follow. Yet, despite Augustus’s accomplishments, very few biographers have concentrated on the man himself, instead choosing to chronicle the age in which he lived. Here, Anthony Everitt, the bestselling author of Cicero, gives a spellbinding and intimate account of his illustrious subject. 

Augustus began his career as an inexperienced teenager plucked from his studies to take center stage in the drama of Roman politics, assisted by two school friends, Agrippa and Maecenas. Augustus’s rise to power began with the assassination of his great-uncle and adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and culminated in the titanic duel with Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
The world that made Augustus–and that he himself later remade–was driven by intrigue, sex, ceremony, violence, scandal, and naked ambition. Everitt has taken some of the household names of history–Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Antony, Cleopatra–whom few know the full truth about, and turned them into flesh-and-blood human beings.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Album Review ~ Leon Bridges

Artist: Leon Bridges
Title of Album: Coming Home

Released: 2015

1. Coming Home
2. Better Man
3. Brown Skin Girl
4. Smooth Sailin'
5. Shine
6. Lisa Sawyer 
7. Flowers
8. Pull Away
9. Twistin' & Groovin'
10. River

Bought from: Amazon vinyl
Price: 18.99

Thoughts on Album:
Man where to begin with this album... It is absolutely amazing. He reminds me of Mo-town meets modern day soul. Put James Brown, Usher (slow jams), Nat King Cole and John Coltrane together with just a sprinkle of Little Richie and you go you some Leon Bridges in my mind. His lyrics have the meaning they are near and dear to his heart. They are his story (they may or not be true he makes them sound as a part of his history) his beat makes you want to dance and boy when you see him live he dances like James Brown. He has a live band reminiscence of the big band music of Little Richie and James Brown. I actually turned to my friend and said, "No wonder he's so skinny he straight up won't stop moving". He makes you want to wear poka-dot dresses and pearls again while twistin' & groovin to his songs. Whenever I have a hard day at work I come home pour some wine and just groove to Leon Bridges.  

Favorite Track(s):
This is one of the hardest albums to figure out a favorite on because I absolutely love all the tracks
Coming Home - is one of my favorites and seriously when I say that it is saying something. 
Better Man - makes you wish you had a man like Leon who wants to be the better man for you who would swim the Mississippi River to get another shot with you
Brown Skin Girl - makes you want to go buy a pok-a-dress just to be noticed :)
Seriously there isn't a track on this album I don't care for 

Grade: A+

Would Recommend: Yes and I have over and over and over and over. Great album highly recommend either on amazon or itunes or vinyl which is saying something

Buy here on Amazon
Buy here on Itunes

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

Title: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Author: Gary Keller Copyright: 2013
Type:  Self-help, Business
Pages: 240
Series: no

Reason for Reading
Had to read for a presentation at work

The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.

The Problems:
1.      It felt like it repeated itself numerous times over so that it was almost overkill and could have been cut down a few times.
2.      After a while it sounded easy but didn’t feel as if in my profession (social worker and counseling which is who I was teaching to) it might not fit in a crisis field situation.
3.      This book could work but was long and repeated over and over the same idea in a different way and so I tended to skim over the information.

The Wins:
1.      Had some good nuggets of information that I could glean from and share with those that came to the lunch and learn
2.      I learned some tricks and tips that I wasn’t used to and able to apply them to other areas in my life as well as work area which is how I presented this to co-workers.
3.      After having it to chew on for a while I have noticed that I am thinking about it more and more each a bit a day
4.      I think it has a good idea behind it but the cliff notes version works just as well.

Goodreads Grade: 2 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book to others? It is okay in certain business situations but not others and may not work in other crisis situations.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review ~ Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone

Title: Evelyn, After 
Author: Victoria Helen Stone
Copyright: 2016
Type:  fiction
Pages: 247

Reason for Reading
It was a book that was free on amazon that looked pretty good

Evelyn Tester is sleepwalking through her suburban life—until a late-night phone call startles her awake. Her husband, a prestigious psychiatrist, has been in an accident. And he isn’t alone.

Suddenly Evelyn’s world isn’t as tidy as she thought. And in the midst of it all is Juliette, not only her husband’s secret lover but also his patient. If news of the affair were to get out, it would ruin more than just Evelyn’s marriage. Although it’s a bitter pill for Evelyn to swallow, protecting her family means staying silent—even if, as she begins to discover, the night of the accident has consequences far more dangerous than the unmasking of an affair.

But the more Evelyn learns about Juliette’s picture-perfect life—complete with a handsome, unsuspecting husband—the more she yearns for revenge…and satisfaction. Her growing obsession fuels her rage, burning away her complacency. What will be left of her after it flames out?

The Problems:
1.      From just personal life experience I didn’t like how Evelyn at first handled her life situation with Juliette’s unsuspecting husband however, I did think the author handled well.
2.      At one time I thought that the book almost dragged it out too long
3.      It can be triggering for those who might have past experiences with it.

The Wins:
1.      The author went through the ringer with the main character and man oh man did she ever put Evelyn through it. She did however handle those delicate moments well.
2.      I think that the growth of the character was fantastic and I enjoyed watching her go through the pain and the heartache to see what she would become at the end and it was satisfying.
3.      The pain was almost too much yet it was just enough to make you hurt with the character yet then love the character and root for the character and celebrate when she had a success of any kind.

Goodreads Grade: 4 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book to others? I was pleasantly surprised by this book. There were times I wanted to shake Evelyn and I didn’t like her decisions but I did enjoy how the author handled it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review ~ The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Ann Noble

Title: The Mermaid’s Sister Author: Carrie Ann Noble
Copyright: 2015
Type:  Fiction, young adult
Pages: 237
Reason for Reading
mermaid people it had mermaid in the title and I had to read it

There is no cure for being who you truly are...

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions. By night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphan infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin. She realizes that Maren is becoming a mermaid—and knows that no mermaid can survive on land. Desperate to save her, Clara and O’Neill place the mermaid-girl in their gypsy wagon and set out for the sea. But no road is straight, and the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening mermaid.

And always, in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

The Problems:
1.      The circus I mean it was good until then where it went wrong for me was the side story of the circus which I basically skipped over
2.      The drawn-out love story of the boi and the sister. He loves my sister so I can’t love him but I love him but I can tell that my sister loves him so I won’t love him but I love him yet I know he must love my sister so this is wrong so I won’t tell him how I feel so I will sit over her and pine over him was a bit too much for me. Thankfully much of this occurred during said circus side story
3.      The whole I’m going to be a bird and when is this going to happen (spoiler rant coming up)
IT NEVER HAPPENED and was never going to happen b/c humans don’t turn into birds but they made her worry about it b/c her sister was a mermaid her adopted parents were fey and boyfriend was born and orphan in an apple tree (WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL) so the whole time she refused to love or fall in love b/c she might turn into a bird so she could feel special was a lie. Why would you even tell her that lie? Just be like sorry kid no one wanted you like the kid with the apple tree but me so here you go?

The Wins:
1.      Lawd for all its faults in the beginning it was a GREAT story it had the all the tale of a good story the love of 2 sisters trying to deal with a difficult situation that one of them was a mermaid. See simple plot if it would have stayed with said simple plot it would have been one of my top 5 for 2016.
2.      The sister’s love for each other was AMAZING and the things that they were willing to do for each other not being blood but still loving each as sister was worth seeing and broke my heart
3.      The daughter of sea angle was awesome and I would love to see more of the story of what the sister in the sea was doing once she became a sister of the sea. How did that work how did they remain sisters did the visit? How would they could one go to the other in the sea?
4.      The love of the 2 fey that would visit every winter was enduring and heartbreaking and I loved their story and wanted more and to see what happened once the curse was broken.

Goodreads Grade: 1 out of 5 stars

Would you recommend this book to others? No I really did not enjoy the book at all and would have DNF it but I wanted to know if the mermaid made it to the sea so I skipped a lot of the chapters and read the final chapter to see what happened.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

W.W.W January 11th 2017~ #1

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading: 
Play Dead by Anne Frasier 

No one understands the dark side of Savannah better than homicide detective Elise Sandburg. As an infant, she was thought to be the daughter of a famous root doctor--and was abandoned in an ancient Low Country cemetery. Growing up, she was haunted by her possible connection to the local Gullah culture--with its spells and voodoo. Now, however, there's a twisted killer on the loose, and the city is gripped by terror. Someone is using a substance that leaves its victims in a state that mimics death. As their bodies slip into an irreversible paralysis, their minds remain fully, shockingly awake. 

Step by step, Elise's relentless chase for the killer draws her straight back into the world she most fears. And now, to stop a murderer, she must confront the truth about her own past in ways she never could have imagined...

What did you recently finish reading?
The Empress Dowager Cixi by Chang Jung 

In 1852, at age sixteen, Cixi was chosen as one of Emperor Xianfeng’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a coup against her son’s regents and placed herself as the true source of power—governing through a silk screen that separated her from her male officials.
        Drawing on newly available sources, Jung Chang comprehensively overturns Cixi’s reputation as a conservative despot. Cixi’s extraordinary reign saw the birth of modern China. Under her, the ancient country attained industries, railways, electricity, and a military with up-to-date weaponry. She abolished foot-binding, inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on a path to introduce voting rights. Packed with drama, this groundbreaking biography powerfully reforms our view of a crucial period in China’s—and the world’s—history.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Magic Bitter Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.
When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.
During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.
From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.
What about you what are your 3 Ws?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Album Review ~ Melanie Martinez

Artist: Melanie Martinez
Title of Album

Released: 2015

1. Cry Baby
2. Dollhouse
3.Sippy Cup
5. Alphabet Boy
6. Soap
7. Training Wheels
8. Pity Party
9. Tag You're It
10. Milk and Cookies
11. Pacify Her
12. Mrs Potato Head
13. Mad Hatter
14. Play date
15. Teddy Bear
16. Cake

Bought from: Amazon
Price: $8.99 (deluxe is 11.99)

Thoughts on Album:
I was shocked by this album to be fair. Melanie's voice is very unique and not something I was expecting from her. I have to say it is slightly haunting then add in her different lyrics that when you really listen to it make you go, "wow this girl is really preaching here". She has a message and each song is something different and yet they are all similar enough to know this is Melanie Martinez there is no doubt in my mind when it's her song on the speaker. Her deluxe album does add 3 extra songs to the list and to me was totally worth the extra money. After doing some research on this artist I realized I knew her from the voice. Now she is one that was eliminated from the voice and I wonder why her voice is actually something that is so unique that I can't help but wonder if it was was that alone that might have prevented her from going on. Anyway back to the album her lyrics are really the heart of what is going on here and I love that each song really hits home in a lot of different way. I can see why she is a favorite to a lot of my teenage girls who I counsel. 

Favorite Track(s):
I absolutely love Mad Hatter it for some reason speaks to me on a level I can't even begin to help you understand
Dollhouse is just so real about being perfect outside "places, places get in your place - everyone thinks that we are perfect, please don't let them look through the curtains" is something that just resonates with me as a counselor which I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. This idea that we have to be perfect for the outside and give this idea that we are a perfect family when in reality we have so much happening in our families. 

Grade: A I really enjoy this band and this album I can't wait to hear more from her.

Would Recommend:
I would recommend her with a word of caution her lyrics will hit a little close to home so if you are looking for something that is a feel good kind of thing then ignore her words and her beats will just drift over you. However, if you make a mistake and actual listening to the lyrics you will realize that her words will sink in and hit something a little too close to home and make you want to listen to more and more. She is preaching without actually feeling as if you are being preached to. Her life story becomes something that you realize is actual your life and this is either healing or danger if not used appropriate. 

Get the music from Itunes here
Get the music from Amazon here