I’m Published!!! :::: Michael Jackson For the Soul: A Fanthology

31 January 2011 at 4:59 pm (Book Reviews, Campaigns, Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Music, Raves, Thank You's) (, , , , , , )


Some of you may remember that roughly just over a year ago I was approached by someone on here to publish my written piece on Michael Jackson.

When Michael Jackson passed on June 25, 2009 the entire WORLD mourned and there was a collective gasp of shock. I immediately took to my blog to write about what he meant to me. To my childhood. And what he meant to humanity as a whole.

A bit later a woman by the name of Lorette Luzajic wrote me expressing interest in my piece and wanted to know if I’d be interested in submitting it to a project she was going to be working on. She was compiling a “fanthology” of written works on the late King of Pop by bloggers, writers and fans such as myself.

I was of course, flattered and honoured to be included and told her I would LOVE to be a part of this. On January 9, 2011, I received an email saying the book was finished and ready. I haven’t received my copy as yet, so I can’t do a book review but as soon as I do, I will definitely be doing a write-up. I just wanted to share this with you all so that you may show love and support and purchase your own copy.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com. please click >>> here <<< to buy it now! It’s only $20.00 and $1 donations from each book sold will be going to the Kids Help Phone, keeping in spirit with Michael Jackson’s legacy and love for the children of the world.

Thank you, Lorette, for working so diligently to get this book completed. I also  thank you for including me in such a special project. Also, many thanks to Eliza Lo for the beautiful front cover artwork.

We still miss you, Michael. I hope your family and fans will find justice.

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The Best Book I’ve Ever Read

24 December 2009 at 12:00 am (Book Reviews, Entertainment, Family, Movies, Raves, World Issues) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


I have been moved by MANY books but none have hit me as hard as The Kite Runner. I first read Khaled Hosseini about three years ago when I purchased A Thousand Splendid Suns. I loved that book and vowed to buy The Kite Runner right after that. Time escaped me. I was in Value Village of all places where this book was sitting on the counter. It looked brand new and was only $5.99. I bought it of course. It took me almost a month to read it (which is unusual for me) not because it was slow or boring or didn’t hold my interest but because I was so busy I often only had time to read it on my lunch break at work and to and from work on public transit. Towards the middle though, I started taking an extra 30 minutes before bed to close a chapter. I just couldn’t put it down.

In The Kite Runner, Amir and Hassan grow up together in Afghanistan like brothers, although they couldn’t be more different. Amir is the son of a wealthy businessman, a Sunni Muslim, a Pashtun, and he’s educated and reads voraciously. Hassan’s father is a servant to Amir’s father.  Hassan is a Sh’ia Muslim, a Hazara, illiterate, and he has a harelip. But neither boy has a mother and they spend their childhoods roaming the streets of Kabul together. Amir, though, continually uses his superior position to taunt or abuse Hassan, and one day hides in fear as Hassan is beaten mercilessly by bullies. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan sends Amir’s family to the United States, but he returns there as an adult during the Taliban rule to atone for his sins to Hassan.

This book caused me to shed tears on public transit like a damn fool. It is extremely provocative, powerful, and heartbreakingly gripping. I have never read such a piece of factually based fiction that left me feeling so tired, angry, exhausted and hopeful and at peace. So many emotions are stirred within you when you read this story. So many emotions are left swirling around you when you close the back-end. It’s a tough read at times because you are so taken in by Hassan’s innocence and what happened to him was just gut-wrenching. His unwavering love and kindness for Amir are relentless and you want to hate Amir so much but you can’t because there is a part of Amir that lives in all of us. To despise him would be to despise that part of ourself.

I will say the nature of Amir and Hassan’s bond was something I picked up on immediately. I knew from the first 1/4 of the book what I ended up learning in the latter half. I won’t say what it was. I don’t want to say it was any foreshadowing on the author’s part but rather my knack for picking up on the understated obvious. As a writer myself I saw the signs. I was pleased to be correct. I feel like the character development couldn’t have grown the way it did without that sort of connection. I know I’m not making much sense to those that havent read the story but for the ones that have – I’m sure you see what I mean.

This is a story of honour and redemption. Of atonement and forgiveness. Of love. There is a quote in the book said by Amir’s Baba and it says: “A child that doesn’t stand up for himself grows into a man who doesn’t stand up for anything.” And in so many ways this is true but the best part of this book is the other quote that sent Amir onto his path of atonement and that was stated by Rahim Kahn in which: “there IS a way to be good again“. There is always a way. Redemption doesn’t have to always come in the form of the way it did with Amir. His sacrifice was the ultimate price to pay BUT if we all just look to do the right thing when we are called upon to do so, and even when we aren’t – the world would be a better place.

I’m watching the movie now and while I’m sure it won’t be as good as the book (let’s be honest, what movie ever is?) I will be honest and tell you that as soon as I saw the little boy who would play Hassan, my eyes literally teared up. I don’t know – to put a face to such a beautifully tragic character just brought it all home for me.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has yet to read it. I am declaring this to be THE best book I have ever read. Not ONE of the best but THE best. Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel paints a gritty and gruesome aspect of modern-day Afghanistan and what it was like to grow up in a country that was once so full of culture and heritage. This book will force you to cherish your loved ones, believe in yourself and the responsibility you have to stand up for yourself and others and the power of God to always be on your side even when it seems He has turned his back on you.

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The Twilight Saga

14 August 2009 at 1:50 pm (Book Reviews, Entertainment, Movies, Raves) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )


stephanie-meyer-covers_l

I know I know. I’m late. And very much so. I didn’t understand the hype – shoot me.

Just under 2 years ago, while at work, my female boss was telling me about some book her daughter was reading. She and I used to trade paperbacks often. I wasn’t 100% listening as I was doing something at the same time but I remember her telling me that the books, while focusing on teens, were so well-written an adult could enjoy them – namely her. I asked her the title but by the time I left work later on that day, I had forgotten it. Fast forward a few months and there was this HUGE phenonmenon sweeping the nation. Some movie named Twilight had just opened to rave reviews and people everywhere were talking. I was like .. wth!? I didn’t get it. I knew very little.

Slowly, the buzz got back to me, personally, and I was quite curious. When I realized the movie was based on a quartet of books, I asked my female boss the name again, and she told me, Twilight. The same name of the movie I was told I should see.

So, now, I was at home one night, and I decided to watch the movie online. This had a  lot to do with the fact that, three days before I had taken the little one to see Madagascar 2 and Twilight had played in the theatre beforehand. All the people (and they were of various ages) coming out were exuberant in their love of the film. This movie HAD to be good, I thought. I figured, if I watch it in the privacy of my own home no one will know I watched it. A mangy teen flick … oooooo what would people think! lol

I watched and needless to say, I LOVED IT! I was taken in almost immediately by the good looking cast, storyline and script. It was just something about the story that had me enchanted. And dont even get me started on the characters. They were amazing, only heightened by the intense and passionate chemistry of the two lead actors, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (who, if you don’t already know, I’m madly in love with and will have MANY babies by – lol). I was hooked. But not obsessed. I mean, a previous post of mine about an oddly obsessed Twilight fan wasn’t how I felt but I guess I could see her enthusiasm.

Afterwards, I realized I had to read the books. I’d been told repeatedly that while the movie was great, the books were even better. I borrowed the first book from a girl in my class and finished it in just a couple days. The more I read, the more I fell in love with this story. I WANT ME AN EDWARD, dammit! Vampire or Human, I don’t care!!! LOL. I couldn’t wait for my classmate to give me the 2nd book (New Moon) so I stepped into Walmart before class and bought it *serious blank face goes here* .

I am only a few chapters into New Moon and am ONCE again engrossed. I don’t use the term magical often but these books have me under a spell, so help me God. They are magical. I am eagerly awaiting the movie as well. I honestly, have to say, Stephenie Meyer has an amazing ability to make you just not READ her books but want to actually be a PART of them. She engages you to the point where you TRULY cannot put the book down. Her writing is captivating and flows with amazing detail.  The romantic angle of tortured lovebirds Bella and Edward is sweet and not cheesy and for an adult reading this book you get a chance to relive your first love through them.

I echo what my female boss told me and it seems like ages ago: don’t let your age deter you from reading these books. You’re missing out! Trust me!

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Book Review: Salem Falls

7 August 2009 at 6:09 pm (Book Reviews, Entertainment) (, , , , , , )


Great book. Modern day witch hunt based in Salem Falls with amazing quotes from the classic novel “The Crucible“. At times this book can drag on and a lot of the plot isn’t necessary but all the same I enjoyed this book. A lot.

Jodi Picoult delivers another well written page turner.  This is the second book I’ve read by her and I plan to continue reading the other’s shes penned. The story follows a man by the name of Jack St. Bride – former teacher wrongly accused and convicted of sex with one of his students. Jack leaves prison almost a year later trying to start over in Salem Falls where tragically history repeats itself. This story is one of secrets, sex and lies and the way it unfolds is nothing short of originality and scandal.

I absolutely love the characters and how they are developed. You know the entire time that Jack St. Bride is innocent but there is JUST a little part of you that wonders WHAT IF because the details of what happened that fateful night aren’t fully revealed until later on in the book. Great suspense building. I will honestly state that I knew all along what was going on with the protagonist, Gillian Duncan but I won’t give it away here. Call it intuition but I just KNEW what was up with her. The very last pages made me HOORAH in excitement – lol. I love having a feeling and being right about it. haha.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a good and easy read and I guarantee you will love it.

♦     ♦     ♦

More detailed synopsis: Jack St. Bride was once a beloved teacher and soccer coach at a girls’ prep school – until a student’s crush sparked a powder keg of accusation and robbed him of his career and reputation. Now, after a devastatingly public ordeal that left him with an eight-month jail sentence and no job, Jack resolves to pick up the pieces of his life. He takes a job washing dishes at Addie Peabody’s diner and slowly starts to form a relationship with her in the quiet New England village of Salem Falls. But just when Jack thinks he has outrun his past, a quartet of teenage girls with a secret turn his world upside down once again, triggering a modern-day witch hunt in a town haunted by its own history…

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Book Review: Love The One You’re With

28 July 2009 at 3:07 pm (Book Reviews, Life, Love & Relationships, Raves) (, , , , , , , , , , )


Emily Giffin is currently one of my favourite “chick lit” authors. Her name is usually one of the first I look for when perusing the shelves at Chapters.

I’ve read all of her books starting with “Something Borrowed” that spawned two follow up novels. Her writing is relatable, real, honest, and endearingly charming. Her characters are believable and well-developed. When I read a novel I want to KNOW the character I’m reading – and she does that amazingly well.

This  particular novel takes place in New York focusing on our heroine, Ellen Graham née Dempsey. Raised in Pittsburgh, Ellen lost her mother at an early age. She went away to college and befriended her wealthy but friendly roommate, Margot.  In the latter years of her college experience, Ellen met Leo, in of all places, while doing jury duty. Thus began a great courtship both filled with passion and intensity. However, without a strong understanding of why, Leo and Ellen’s romance and relationship falters and altogether dies out shortly after one New Year’s Eve.

In the presence of Ellen’s brokenheart she takes up a new hobby that ends up turning into a thriving career – photography. In the course of mending her heart she ends up dating Andy, her best friend Margot’s brother. Their courtship is romantic, based on a strong friendship and eventually they marry. All seems to be well until a fateful rainy day where Ellen runs into Leo in the middle of an intersection. Thus begins a tumultuous game of “what if” and “could be“.

The book pretty much deals with the question of: how can one woman love the one she is with when she is constantly thinking about the one that got away?

On a personal level I could relate to the concept of this story and while it’s “only a book” there was a VERY important lesson I took from it; the past is the past for a reason. It may not make sense. It may not be logical. It may not be easy to deal with or get over but, the past is indeed THE PAST.

I also took from this story, the quote I posted yesterday – directly below this blog entry.

Without giving away too much of the book (and definitely the ending), I think the question this story raises is a good one and any woman that has been haunted by the “what ifs” of her past will relate. Readers will follow Ellen’s journey into dangerous territory as she comes face to face with some tough, real-life decisions.

Emily Giffin‘s novels are easy and quick reads. There are good and bad things to this because you wish the book won’t end but you are so engrossed with the stories and characters that you fly through it.

I highly recommend this book. It’s light, enjoyable reading as well as smart and witty. A page turner that you wont want to put down; I believe I read it in 3 days. PICK IT UP – lol.

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I LOVED This Book As A Child ♥

2 July 2009 at 8:47 pm (Book Reviews, Campaigns, Life, Random, Raves, Throwbacks) (, , , , , )


I wish I could find a bigger picture.

This was an amazing book I read back in elementary school (I used to have a copy signed by the author but have lost it over the years) and it dealt with being different and teased and bullied and for whatever reason its lessons ALWAYS stayed with me and I remembered it tonight while talking about a sexy Italian man ( I KNOW how wrong that seems but lol … sue me!)

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My Sister’s Keeper

27 February 2009 at 11:40 pm (Book Reviews) (, , , , , , , )


sisterskeeper

5 out of 5 stars

Never have I read such a book that pulled at my heartstrings. NEVER has a book made me cry. And not just a tear or two but real alligator tears. I can’t even being to describe the emotions this book brought out of me. A brief synopsis of the plot:

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate – a life and a role that she has never questioned… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister – and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable… a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. My Sister’s Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life… even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less?

The story of Anna Fitzgerald is unlike any I’ve ever read. Jodi Picoult is a genius. She writes from all characters perspectives and just when you feel you’ve chosen a side, she outrightly challenges that decision with a completely different viewpoint. How she was able to do it, I’ll never know but this book challenges our spirit and psyche.  You soon realize with this story that no side can be chosen. There is no right or wrong here. There is only faith. You can’t imagine being in the position of losing a child and then, knowing your other child can save them, but won’t. I don’t want to give away too much of the book so I’ll stop there but I highly recommend this for anyone that needs to reconnect with the meaning of the human spirit. The ending of the story is not one the reader could ever think of and its completely heartwrenching. The twist at the end is sad but almost necessary. The topic of ‘donor children’ is current and controversial but Picoult manages to tackle the subject with an unyielding sensitivity.  It’s a book I just couldn’t put down and I flew through it. I’ll be sure to read more of Picoults work after this, without a doubt.

There is also a movie being made starring Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin and Abigail Breslin, due out in 2009.

With this being such an emotional story, I hope the movie is done well or I will be gravely disappointed.

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The Importance Of Being Married – Gemma Townley

23 August 2008 at 5:20 pm (Book Reviews, Entertainment) (, , , , , )


 

3 out of 5 stars

First time reading a book by Gemma Townley. It won’t be my last. What a good story. It’s endearing, charming, funny and just an all around fun read. I’m a huge chick lit fan and this book won’t disappoint if you’re into this sort of genre.

The book starts by introducing us to our heroine, Jessica Wild, who is a rather plain Jane, obsessed with work, raised by a stern and strict grandmother who told her men, romance and love are for the birds. Jess lives in a London city called Islington with her pretty and rambunctious flatmate, Helen. They are complete opposites but the dearest of friends. When Jess’ friend – an older lady she met at her grandmother’s retirement home – passes away, she learns the woman, Grace Hampton is actually Lady Hampton and has left Jess her estate worth upwards of 4 million (pounds)! But there’s a hitch. Jess, in order to make Grace happy, made up a story about being happily in love and married to her uber-successful boss, Anthony Milton. And the will is addressed to whom Grace believes Jess to be: A Mrs. Anthony Milton. Another catch: the will has to be claimed, along with papers signed, within 50 days. Quite the predicament, huh?

So Jessica, with help of Helen and a couple other crazy characters, embark on a mission to get Anthony Milton to date her, fall madly in love with her, propose to her and alas, marry her. All within 50 days. Can Jess do it?

The book and certain aspects of the plot were VERY obvious and predicatable to me, even before foreshadowing put the hints out there. I’m not sure if it was Ms. Townley’s writing style or just the fact that I pick up on things easily but nevertheless, even though I was “in the know” on characters real motives, I still enjoyed reading the book and couldn’t put it down towards the end because I was wanting desperately to know what happened next. It was quite the page turner and had a lot of heartwarming moments. None that I plan to give away here though. I’m not one for ruining another readers’ experience.

I enjoyed the different views of marriage the characters had and the part where Jess finds the perfect dress but opts for something different resonated something within me. Of course, I want and plan to get married someday and the lessons on marriage in this book weren’t lost on me. I enjoyed the fact that it’s ok to get married for the “traditionally right” reasons as well as for the “unusually wrong” ones. I know that sounds odd but if you choose to read the book, you’ll understand what I mean =)

I recommend fans of Gemma Townley to definitely read this book if they haven’t already. I plan on reading her older novels. I already have “Learning Curves” on board.  I also implore new fans to check her out. I enjoyed her simple, comprehensive and entertaining writing.

On another note: The editor, writer and never miss a thing part of me has to point out that there was a mistake, late in the book, where the main character Jess is actually called “Jen” and there is no correction/explanation as to why. One can only assume it was a mistake on Townley’s editors’ part.

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