Review: Be Frank With Me

Be Frank With MeBe Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore Frank! I was not sure how I would feel about this book, but I can honestly say I would read it all over again.

Spoilers ahead:

Frank is a nine-almost-ten year old little red head son of famous recluse writer M.M. (Mimi) Banning. He would rather dress in a morning suit from the 1940s, complete with cuff-links, and top hat or fez. He is a richly intelligent boy, who is obsessed with entertainment facts of the golden age of Hollywood and radio. It did not take but a couple of chapters to realize that Frank must certainly be high-functioning autistic (Asperger’s), based on his speech, intelligence, and single-focused interests. When twenty-four year old Alice is hired by Mimi’s agent to be her personal assistant, she travels from New York to Los Angeles taking up residence with the writer and her son. Frank warms up to her, after a dire warning from Mimi not to touch Frank without his permission, and under no circumstances touch any of his things, or else meltdowns would occur. While Mimi is holed up in her office writing her latest overdue novel, Alice and Frank take on LA in a magnanimous way. The duo soon learn much about each other, their likes and dislikes, and their coping mechanisms. The more the story unfolded, the more I saw my autistic nephew in Frank. There are moments of hilarity, moments of tenderness, and moments of heartbreak. Each moment shaped the until Frank and Alice became such endearing characters that I will cherish having met.

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Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! I was skeptical at first, when it started out reading as a narrative of a grumpy old man. However, it quickly became a humorous, touching story about a man who had lost everything and everyone he had loved in life. Ove soon discovered love can be found in the strangest of places: a bedraggled feral cat, new neighbors, helping those in need in various ways. At every turn, Ove’s desire to die was curtailed by the needs of his new “family” in hilarious ways. I laughed. I cried. I have to read the physical copy of this book because I loved the audiobook so much. I recommend this to everyone, regardless of your genre of choice. Go read it now!

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Review: The Bone Labyrinth

The Bone Labyrinth (Sigma Force, #11)The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a huge Rollins fan for his ability to take a snippet out of a news story and turn it into masterfully crafted novel. While I’m a fan of the Sigma Force characters, it was mainly Kowalski that earned a place in my heart for fictional characters due to his relationship with Bacco (sp?) the gorilla. Tough as nails Kowalski is brought into a case to become a sign language translator for Bacco, and as man and beast bond, it is a relationship that warms and encourages those who enjoy relationships between humans and animals. I choose to listen to the audiobook version of this since I have been trying to get around to it forever. However, the narrator, while great at enunciating accents and the individuality of the characters throughout the story, he otherwise possessed a rather monotone voice that honestly put me to sleep a few times. I probably won’t read another Rollins book via audiobook for this reason, and the fact that so many details get lost in the listening that would otherwise be the point of focus in the written word. Regardless, I enjoyed The Bone Labyrinth!

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Where have all the books gone?

NEW_DICTIONARY_WORDS_001

I never thought it would happen, but the day has come that I walked into the public library and could not find the book I was looking for.

My midterm project for school is to read a book from my personal collection and analyze it. I chose Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Since it was written in the mid 1800s, there are a few words that have different meanings now, therefore I wanted to look them up in the dictionary. In a class last week, it was revealed that the Oxford English Dictionary is the mother of all dictionaries. This is mainly due to the fact that it records word origins from some of their earliest usages. This was the dictionary I was needing to use.

This evening after work, I visited the public library just down the street. I went up to the counter and asked the librarian/assistant (I’m unsure what their positions were), where I could find the Reference section. One of them turned to look at me and began to say “We don’t a reference section,” before another worker spoke up and asked, “what exactly are you looking for?” I answered, “a dictionary.” After an odd look, the first worker referred me to the aisle at the far end of the library.

Upon arriving to that section, I try to locate any book that says “dictionary” on it. The selection was sparse. Not only was the entire section of non-technical reference books only about 4-feet long, but general reference materials were in sad supply. So sad, that there were only 2 dictionaries on the entire shelf. One was a dictionary/thesaurus, of which was thinner than most of the Bibles I own. The second (of which they actually had two copies), was also lacking in volume. Not too long ago, there used to be shelves upon shelves of reference materials. Shellllllllvvvvves

After looking up the word I was searching for in one of the two copies, and not discovering at all what I hoped to discover, I returned to the desk and asked if they happened to have any other dictionaries in the library, namely the Oxford English Dictionary. The library worker offered to look it up in the system and online. After determining the OED’s website is subscription-based, of which I had already mentioned, and they did not have a subscription to, she went to look in their database. As it turns out, there is not a single copy of the OED in their circulation, at any of the locations.

Thanking them as politely as I could, I walked out feeling rather dejected and disappointed, and more than a little bit ticked.

Mind you, I could visit the university’s library (and may very well have to now), as I know they have a copy, but that isn’t the point. The point is, a PUBLIC library, consisting of roughly ten to twelve locations does not have one of the most renowned dictionaries in the English language in its collection. Yes, a majority of society will look up word definitions on Google and be satisfied with the results. I would be doing the same thing, for a quick result. But when looking for the root meaning of a word, its etymology and origins, it isn’t quite that simple.

First take away the dictionaries, then what? I understand that we live in the digital age. I understand that kids these days (i.e. anyone less than 22 years old) have been raised on more screen time and less printed book time. That’s not the point.

My point is, don’t lose all respect or fail to recognize the value of an actual printed book. There is still something that physical books can offer, that open source Internet-based software cannot.

May <3 List

Sadly, I haven’t been very active on here. I’m hoping to make a positive change by posting at least once a month. I will start by posting a list of things I’m loving on each month. Without further ado…May:

may-list

PLAYLIST

  1. You Make Me Feel So Young Michael Bublé
  2. To Love Somebody – Michael Bublé
  3. Close Your Eyes – Michael Bublé
  4. To Be Loved – Michael Bublé
  5. Young At Heart – Michael Bublé
  6. Let The RoadRixton
  7. Storyteller Morgan Harper Nichols (feat. Jamie Grace)
  8. Go Hard or Go Home Wiz Khalifa and Iggy Azalea
  9. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – Jimmy Dorsey
  10. Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller

Listen to playlist

Why?

I got myself Michael Bublé’s latest CD for my birthday last month. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an album of his that I haven’t enjoyed. This one didn’t disappoint. The five songs listed are the ones I continually put on repeat. I really cannot wait to see him in concert again.

Michael-Buble


I discovered Rixton on the Today show a couple months ago. They are very reminiscent of 98* (remember Nick Lachey and the rest of those guys?). Lovely a capella tones with just a bit of percussion mixed in for a perfect balance.

rixton   98_Degrees_-_Revelation_-_Front


Morgan Harper Nichols is a breakout artist that I heard on a local radio station a few weeks ago. The lyrics are amazing. And her voice… I can’t even describe how amazing it is. And no wonder I fell in love with it; Nichols is the older sister of Jamie Grace, who performs background vocals on the track. If you get a chance, watch the official music video; it’s pretty powerful. I won’t lie, it brings me to tears every time I watch it.


Go Hard or Go Home is a track from the Furious 7 movie. Not only is the movie spectacular, edge-of-your-seat action, but it is emotional as well, since this was Paul Walker’s final hurrah. They producers and co-stars did his legacy justice. This song, just epitomizes that beautiful relationship that was shared amongst Vin Diesel and Walker and their characters over the years. furious-7


Of course my list wouldn’t be complete without some Big Band. Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller are two of the most notable big band directors of their day. Moonlight Serenade, all-time-favorite of that era. Plus it reminds me of Rose and Nine from Series 1 of Doctor Who, and the book I’ve been writing (rewriting) for the last few years. Rose and 9


COFFEE

Ethiopian…fruity, caramel-butterscotch, floral type of flavors.

In my Doctor Who mug.

20150407_085715  20150406_154554


READING

I’m a multi-tasking reader, as you can see. I’ve got probably twice as many on my nightstand and coffee table, but these are my active reads.

homer  sparks  compass

Homer’s Odyssey is about a blind domestic cat who overcame physical challenges he faced during his life, from the time he was found on a street battered and worse-for-wear, to having to navigate through the many places he lived as a blind pet. It is written by the lady who rescued him, but ultimately, he rescued her. Heart-wrenchingly wonderful. I’m about half-way through it.

The People of Sparks is book two of The City of Ember series. I read the first book for my Children’s Literature class and absolutely loved it. It ended on a cliff-hanger, so I can’t just leave the rest of the series unread. I must know if they the city is able to be rescued from their life of darkness.

The Golden Compass was for my Children’s Lit class also, on the topic of censorship and controversial texts. It would never have been my first or second choice to read this, mainly because of the heretic controversy surrounding it. It is a book laden with concerning subject manner: violence against children, general violence (one fight scene at the end…oy vey!), not to mention the anti-religious message. After doing some research for a paper, it turns out the author is atheist, which makes sense why it was heavy on the anti-religion. As soon as I read the last page, my jaw had dropped open because I just couldn’t fathom the ending. Cliff-hanger, of course, as well. But it is part of a series, and I have to know if Lyra ever finds what she’s looking for. Merely for educational purposes. I would not recommend this for any child to read due to the violent nature of the story.


TELEVISION PLOT-LINE

The relationship between Sr. and Jr. DiNozzos on NCIS. If you’ve watched much of this season, you’ve gathered a shift in their relationship. Sr. DiNozzo so wants the approval and acceptance of his son, yet Tony is plagued by memories of his father’s past failures and disappointments as a parent. It’s been interesting to see a somewhat friendship unfold between Sr. and Gibbs, however, making the elder DiNozzo seem more human and vulnerable, causing Tony to see him in a different light. DiNozzos


OTHER LOVELIES

This is a painting of Gallifrey I would love to attempt. I have no idea who originally painted it; I just came across it on Facebook one day and saved it for future enjoyment.

gallifrey

Day 04 — Your favorite book

Day 04 — Your favorite book

My favorite book…Wow that really is a hard one.  I don’t have just one particular favorite.  I guess I need to break this down into what books I’ve read and re-read the most, and my current favorite that I’ve recently read and would like to read again.

First, the book(s) that I’ve read the most again and again over the years are Star Wars, the original trilogy novel consisting of “From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker” by Alan Dean FosterGeorge Lucas (a.k.a. “A New Hope”), The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut, and Return of the Jedi by James Kahn.  I discovered this when I was in Junior High at age 13.  Most thirteen year old girls aren’t the least bit interested in reading, let alone reading Science Fiction.  But I was, and that labeled me as an outcast.  But who really cares anymore about that.

Another book series that I’ve read repeatedly over the years is The Westmoor Heights Series consisting of three books entitled, respectively, Stormy Leigh, Stormy’s Desire, and Stormy’s Temptation by Sharon Foster.  This is a Christian romance series detailing a girl’s life, Stormy, spanning about ten or fifteen years, beginning at age 25.  It is a story of faith, patience, trials, family, standing up for what you believe in, not giving up, and most importantly, love.   I received these for Christmas when I was 12 or 13.  I immediately read the first two books back to back within the week.  The third book I didn’t get until several years later, after I wrote Sharon Foster personally telling her how much I enjoyed the books and asking her where I might find a copy of it.  Since they were all out of print, she kindly mailed me the third book with a hand written note thanking me.  It was very inspiring that an acclaimed author would take the time to do that.  It has meant the world to me all these years later.  I highly recommend this series.  It is quite the tear-jerker too! 🙂

Most recently however, I finished a series by popular Christian author Dee Henderson, The O’Malley Chronicles, comprising of six books about the seven O’Malley children.  As adults, this motley crew of professional heroes discover the value of family as well as faith in the One true Savior.  The first book is about Kate O’Malley, the FBI’s most trusted and successful hostage negotiator.  Book 2, is about Marcus O’Malley, big brother, and head of the O’Malley “clan”, a United States Marshall.  The third installment is about forensic specialist, Lisa O’Malley, the sibling with the big heart.  The fourth book is about fearless fire fighter Jack O’Malley.  Book five brings us to Rachel O’Malley, a Red Cross disaster counselor and specialist.  Finally book six is Stephen’s story, the most stubborn and sensitive of them all, he is a Paramedic who thrives at saving lives…except one that he values the most.  All of these stories are meshed together by a sister who’s desire is to see them all know the Savior that she loves before it’s too late for them all.  This series is extremely well written and very detailed with imagery.  If you like dramas like CSI or ER, you will love this.

And finally my favorite non-fiction selection is by Michelle McKinney Hammond, In Search of the Proverbs 31 Man: The One God Approves and a Woman Wants. Why do I like this book…well the title says it all.  I’m searching for my Proverbs 31 man.  It really takes two points of views, the girl looking for this ideal husband, and the man and what he should strive to be like.  I really enjoyed Michelle’s comparisons of the Proverbs 31 woman and her counterpart.  It really stepped up my expectations for my future husband, and what I cannot and will not settle for.