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Book Club: September

Welcome to the fall of 2017 everyone! For the month of September, since it is the beginning of fall, and Halloween is next month, I chose a book that is a fantastic book to curl up with on a cool September day, it is Nora Roberts’ book Dark Witch.

Dark Witch follows a young woman named Iona Sheehan who looks for acceptance, love, and devotion; this stems from having parents who are portrayed as being indifferent. Even though she has not been able to find that from her parents, her maternal grandmother showed her where she can find the acceptance, devotion, and love she seeks in nature and even in old legends that reside in her ancestor’s homeland, Ireland. Iona sets off to Ireland, and there she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, who take her into their home and into their lives. Iona ends up landing a job at a local stable, where she ends up meeting the owner, a man by the name of Boyle McGrath. He is everything that makes her weak in the knees, a cowboy, pirate, and wild tribal horseman.
Iona realizes that here in Ireland she can make a life for herself, however, an ancient evil sets upon Iona’s family tree, descending upon her and her cousins. Setting in motion, Iona and her family must fight to defeat the evil.

This book is truly amazing, and it certainly is a great book to curl up with while you are enjoying your hot drink and taking in the Autumn breeze that pelts against your house.

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August Afternoon (Poem)

It’s an August afternoon
the sun beats down on you and I,
here I can picture you walking by my side
till we both die.

Farther down this road
as I stand beside you
I look at you,
glancing ever so often into the future,
to see the life this waiting for us is like.

And now here we are
on this beautiful day,
as the love between you and I grows,
and this is the truth,
I will spend my whole life loving you.

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Book Club: March

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Digging into the archives of all of the novels that have circulated around the globe, I had come across a novel that was published in 1987 by an author named Thomas Gallagher. I had read some of his work before, and was thoroughly impressed with his writing style and also with the way he told his stories. For they truly did capture me, and in a way, forced me to finish the novel right then and there; which there are no complaints coming from me.

Paddy’s Lament was just like every other book by Thomas Gallagher, a well-written, incredibly detailed, historic, and overall the type of story to draw one in, so that they could witness first hand and through the eyes of the character. The story takes place in the 1800’s in Ireland, during the time where all of the citizens were peasants and every one of them relied on one source of food to keep them alive into the next day, the potato. However in 1846, a disease had run rampant across Ireland, taking their only source of food and turned it inedible. Everyone was trying to figure out what they were going to do, what they were going to do for their families, and what else would they be able to eat without falling ill.

Without a doubt, you will enjoy this novel. After reading it, it will make you want to buy all of Mr. Gallagher’s novels.

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On My Bookshelf

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If you have been following me for any period of time, you have begun to notice that I am what you would call a bookworm, however I refer to myself as a book dragon (I divulge the books and sear them into my memory). Give me a cup of good tea, comfy lounge pants and shirt, a comfortable place to sit in, and a pile of books, and right there you have my ideal heaven. My bookshelf is filled to brim with books, and it spills out onto the floor and in boxes. One might say that I have way too many books, however, I beg to differ. You can never have too many books in my opinion.

                                                                    MOST BELOVED :

                                                    (The books that I always have near)

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The ultimate spiritual book that I can refer to when I am having those moments of feeling lost.
  • Jane Austen: Complete Novel Series. These novels are a great stress reliever, and for me, when I am overly stressed, I turn to Jane Austen with a cup of tea and something to eat.
  • All things Edgar Allan Poe. This man has shaped me in so many ways, especially with my writing skills. No matter what time of the year it is, I always turn to Poe and enjoy his poems and short stories. Gothic Romance are the type of books that I can always turn to when my mind wishes to dive into a world of mystery.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Jules Verne has always been high on my list of people that I enjoy reading all the time. In fact, for me, I cannot and will not put down any of his novels for they contain sea monsters, the ocean, and the world in general. He uses so many symbolic references in his novels, and in this novel, there are so many that you will try to decipher them the entire way through. Although I will say this, I could never really choose a favorite author or book, however if I were to choose, this book would be number one.
  • When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi. To describe why I love this book and hold it near and dear to me would be impossible. The way Nadia writes her stories is truly breathtaking, and with this novel, you cannot put it down, and if you have to you will ultimately fighting back the tears of not knowing of what is about to happen to the main character Fereiba.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The original story, not the Disney-fied version, is truly more captivating and more relatable in many ways. And with this novel always being a beloved novel to me, I can truly see through the eyes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda at the same time, and feel what they feel. Victor Hugo is one of the classic authors that cannot and will not be ignored, for his story is engrained into the minds of those who have read his novels.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” This childhood story of mine has always been close to my heart, and as I had gotten older, that was when I realized the references were to being high as a kite, quite honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most influential stories of all time when it comes to giving books to our children, and when my mom introduced the book to me at a very young age, I was so thrilled, that I started the book right away.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I am going to be honest, I love all of Shakespeare’s works from Romeo and Juliet all the way to The Tempest. However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been my number one favorite out of all of his works due to the fact that she shows love comes in all forms, and shows the mystical side of the mind. Shakespeare truly captivated my mind from an early age, and even though I remember more lines from Romeo and Juliet, the lines of Puck will always be seared into the back of my mind.

                                                                      Present Company:

                                                    (What I am currently reading and thinking about)

  •  The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. This story is about a girl in search of her father who was last seen in Vietnam, and wishes to figure out the fate of his demise. For the relationship between her and her father had become estranged when he became separated from the girl’s mother. This story is extremely touching and it will certainly tug at the heart strings.
  • The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman by the name of Charlotte Gold, whose ex-fiancé comes back into her life and seeks help from her and the company she works for. The novel takes place during the time of Nazi Germany and follows the web of stories and lies that follow the characters. Quite honestly, this is a fantastic story and highly recommend it to everyone.
  • Once we were Brothers by Ronald Balson.  This is currently on my to be read pile. Not only that, I think that Mr. Balson is a fantastic author, so to have this book in my pile, I am absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to read soon.
  • All Things Beautiful and Bright by James Herriot. I have read other books by Mr. Herriot and to see that he has a book out that I haven’t read makes me a little sad, so I grabbed a copy and it is now waiting ever so patiently to be read.
  • Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell. Lets be honest here, who wouldn’t want to read a novel about one of the world’s most famous painters? I would in a heartbeat. Currently this lovely novel is in my novel to be read. And once I have begun to read it, I know that I will be sucked into the story and will not want to be taken out.

Now these are not all of the books that I contain, trust me, these are just the ones that I hold dear to my heart and ones that I cannot wait to dive into and explore the other worlds that are lurking between the black and white lines of the pages of these novels.

So, what is on your bookshelf? What are your most beloved novels? What the novels that are on your to be read list?

Photo Credit: Dree Harper

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Healing From the Core: Working out for the Bookworm

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As a bookworm (I refer to myself as a book dragon, but I digress), and a fitness enthusiast and coach, I try to make my workouts a lot of fun because I don’t want to make working out feel like a chore. And if it were a chore, I wouldn’t want to do it at all. That being said, I know a lot of bookworms out there who want to workout but don’t know how to go about it, because they are constantly wanting to read a book instead of working out (I used to be like this). After giving it some thought, I realized how to help other bookworms on how to incorporate books while working out and making it fun.

Running – While you are either running outdoors or indoors on a treadmill, grab your iPod, Mp3, or cell phone and download audible. Audible is a great sight for where you can get some amazing books as audio, you can listen to them while you run and still get into the story. Whenever I am running and don’t want to listen to music, I turn on my audible app and go to town with the running. I try to make it through at least five chapters of the story while I am running.

Wall sits- The exercise where you are pressing your back up against the wall with your legs bent and parallel with the floor is a great exercise as it is. Now grab your favorite book or any book in general, and begin the exercise. With the average novel, read at least two chapters and you will be done after that with that exercise.

Planks – When it comes to planking, you can go two different ways with this, you can either listen to an audio book or you can just read a normal hardback book. If you are going to use a hardback book, use a weight of some sort so when you are at a spot in the book where you need to keep the page kept down, it won’t keep flying up and making you lose your spot.

Bicep curls – Pictured above is a girl with her dumbbell and a book, which quite honestly is one of the coolest pictures I have yet to find. Holding the book in one hand and reading, while you do the curls with your other hand is easy yet hard at the same time. It is all about balance. Trying to steady the dumbbell with one hand, while you are trying to steady a large book takes a lot of balance, so keep that in mind when you are preparing yourself for this exercise.

There is a site roaming around on Google about workouts for bookworms according to their genre preference, and after looking at it and chuckling a little bit, I could definitely see that those specific workouts would be perfect for anyone who is into certain genres of the literary world. I will post the link down below to that site. Engaging a bookworm into exercise is a tricky thing, do to the fact that they already have amazing arms from carrying all those heavy books that they find at the bookstores (you should see how many books I will come home with at the end of the month when I go shopping for new books to read), however it will help them have a healthier body by engaging not only their mind, but the entire body as well. What will be pretty amazing is that when the bookworm is in their 80’s, reading a classic novel, and being able to knock out someone for trying to take their book (I do not condone violence, I just think that it would be funny).

Follow this link for exercises and bookworms: http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2015/08/18/gym-rats-bookworms/

 

 

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Magic Between the Black and White Lines

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The ability to escape reality for just a few moments is very much real, for that is when an individual has their nose in a book and their mind is running rampant with the images the words portray to them. Nothing is more intoxicating than the words that lie behind the cover page, they are stories that all of us can relate to some extent at some point in our lives. And these stories let us escape far away from the cruel place we call reality.

Stories have been around for thousands and thousands of years, some are passed down through different families, while others are made up by an author and spread across the world, then it is told by others. And each story shapes us as individuals, making us grow in a sense of imagination and reality, a combination that carries us throughout life. Most people do not realize how powerful a book can be, they do not realize how the books help our imagination grow more and more, making us have a huge inner world that we escape to.

Ever since I was a child, I would always carry a book with me wherever I went, and would constantly be reading something new. This carried on into my high school years, college years, and now in my mid -20’s I still carry books with me wherever I go so I can have something to read. In fact, in my backpack right now, I have four different books, one that I am currently reading and the others that I will be reading right after it. Books are one of the most powerful things in this world, for the hold magic between each black and white line that runs through the pages. The magic of another world, the magic of being able to be a character from a novel for a short period of time. And currently I am the charater, Fereiba (you will learn about her next Sunday for bookclub). I get to be her in each chapter, and see what she is seeing through her eyes as I read each word, sentence, chapter. That is the magic that most people do not realize.

There is true magic in between those black and white lines that roam the pages of a novel, pick up a novel that you find fascinating and slip into the world.

 

Photo Credit: Ferdinando Scianna, 1997

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Songs of the Mist

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Hello everyone, sorry that I haven’t written any posts in the past few days, things have been a little crazy and also I was having a hard time with writing a new post (got to love writer’s block). Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know that my third poetry book, Songs of the Mist, is now available to the entire public. You can get your copy of my book either through Amazon.com or through my publisher’s website (I will put the link down below). My book is only being released through these two places first, and then it will be sent out to the bookstores all over the world.

This collection of poems and haiku, is near and dear to my heart for many reasons; but for the main reason of my aunt Barbara and for my love of poems. My aunt Barbara was more of a grandma figure in my life than an aunt and honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A good soul, kind hearted, yet a spitfire of an Italian I’ve ever met; she was brilliant and witty, and most important of all, she was compassionate. So in her memory, I dedicated this book to my aunt Barbara.

To receive your copy of my book, follow one of these links:

Middle Island Press: http://middleislandpress.com/?page_id=3791

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998073237/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481929450&sr=8-2&keywords=Loni+Hoots