Posted in Book Review

Book Review: It Tickled The Whiskers Of My Soul by Rebecca Rose

“It took me a long time to learn that not all pain is pointless.” ~Rebecca Rose (in It Tickled the Whiskers of My Soul)

It Tickled the Whiskers of My Soul by Rebecca RoseHello, Dear Bloggites!  I know, I was supposed to make a post yesterday, but I intentionally delayed it for today because I am bringing you a special book review.  The author, Rebecca Rose, emailed me offering her latest book for free if I was willing to give an honest review of it after I was finished.  Of course, I do my best to never turn down a request for a review, but this one was extra special because I “met” Rebecca via email when she published her first book, I’ll Be Fine, and requested a review.

I loved that story so much, that I talk about it to this day!  So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest release, It Tickled the Whiskers of My Soul.  This is the author’s third book but second published under her name.  This book is a story of what the author has learned over time about life, belief, and self.  The book is formatted into a separate “love letter” for each topic.

This book was written in a loving, intimate style that made you feel as if you were sitting with the author while she explained what she has learned from life.  The pictures are a joy and will bring a smile to your face even if you think you are the grumpiest person alive.  Each letter has a theme in it and the author goes into detail about what journey she took to realized that specific theme i.e. true self, fear, laws of attraction, intention, etc.

I loved that even though this book is on spirituality, it is not preachy or skewed to one view or another, so it is written for all to read.  I enjoyed reading how the author found her way through situations and time.  So many people do not view “bad” or “hard” times as a learning experience and I think this book would help people realize that even though the situation may be less than optimal, it is always better in the end.

I give It Tickled The Whiskers Of My Soul by Rebecca Rose 5 out of 5 Bookmarks!  Great read for people looking for ways to deal with life. 🙂

P.S.  THANK YOU, Rebecca, for the Honor of reviewing your book! 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Here’s What I know; Here’s What I Believe

Here is what I know: People Suck

We as a human race are so self-centered and self-focused on what “I want” and what’s “In it for me?” and what “I am entitled to” and on and on and on.

GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

The “I, I, I” and “Me, Me, Me” mentality is so over the top!  And I grew up in the 80s – the most materialistic era of “Beautiful People”!

Here is what I believe: People are Amazing

Every individual is amazingly unique and provides something worth knowing – no matter how small.

EMBRACE YOUR UNIQUENESS!!!

I believe every person out there has a desire to spread happiness and/or joyful encouragement.  I mean, Everyone really wants World Peace! 🙂

I love to meet people where they are in their life journey and then continue with them onto the next level of self together.

Here is what I live: Rule #32 – Appreciate the Little Things in Life

I live each day with a purpose and one thought in mind when I wake up – make a difference for just one person.

DO YOU, BABY!!!

I wake up every morning believing I make a difference no matter what.  Each action, each word, each gesture I make has an impact.  Even if all I do in a day is to organize the haphazard shopping carts in the cart zone, I believe that random act made a difference for the employee responsible for collecting all the carts because I helped them for a moment in their life on the job.

Here is what I find: It Is Not Easy

I suffer from chronic pain daily and many times I wake up to a rebellious broken body that the thought of simply moving is the last thing I want to do.

I HAVE TO CHOOSE!!!

I choose to make a point of making a difference, especially on those pain filled days, I especially need to intentionally follow Rule #32 because I believe that when a simple act is done, it creates a ripple – as if a single rain drop lands on a still pond – that ripple spreads.  As it spreads, I know it will return back to me in such an amazing way that for a moment, I forget People Suck and I remember Each Person is Unique and they provide something worth knowing – no matter how small.

My Challenge to you, Dear Bloggites, is this: Take today and intentionally do a random act of kindness, no matter how small, because it is how we all can Appreciate the Little Things in Life #Rule32. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  I am back!  This book review is over the Books & Broads Book Club choice for May.  I am getting closer to the current month and I hope to finish June-October in the next five days.  I know, big challenge, but I am up for it now that I got my reading groove back on. 🙂

The Secret Wife by Gill PaulMay’s Book Club choice was The Secret Wife by Gill Paul.  I was dreading this one because it was once again a historical fiction novel set in the years 1914-2016.  Now, not all the years were touched like that last novel we read, but most of them were a chapter in the book.  Gill Paul wrote this book in a toggle effect between past and present which I am not a big fan of, but it was in the third person so that softened the blow.

The Secret Wife is about a love found, lost, and found again between Grand Duchess, Tatiana Romanov, and a Calvary Officer, Dmitri Malama, as well as, about a woman, Kitty Fisher, who has left her husband after he cheated on her and caused her to go to America and start to uncover the true story of her Great Grandfather, Dmitri.

The backdrop of the story is the war between Russia and Germany and the unrest of the citizens under the Romanov rule.  Dmitri and Tatiana first became acquainted when he was wounded in battle and she was assisting all the nurses to care for the soldiers who were brought in from the battlefield.  As the book toggles back to present day, you follow Kitty and her struggle to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity while finding out more secrets as she renovates her Great Grandfather’s cabin.

Gill Paul did a great job at creating complex characters which pulled at the reader’s emotions.  You rooted for true love to win out for Tatiana and Dmitri while rooting for Kitty to come to terms with what she actually wants to do with her life.  The imagery was well written for the readers and Gill Paul stayed true to what was known from historical documents while taking liberties with the “What if?” questions of the people you were reading about.

I enjoyed reading this novel and am always enthralled with the history of the world as I read these types of novels.  I may not be a hardcore Historical Fiction lover, but I think I am growing a crush on it. 🙂

I give The Secret Wife by Gill Paul 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Books & Broads Book Club: My Monkeys, My Circus

Have you heard the phrase, “Not My Monkeys, Not my Circus” before?  Well, I want to tell you about the book club I am a member of.  The Books & Broads Book Club and the Members of it ARE my monkeys and they ARE my circus and I would not have it any other way! 🙂

We all long to find that one place, you know the one, Dear Bloggites, the place that you can just be you in all your quirky glory and be accepted and loved.  It is that place that becomes your haven in a rough world; your lighthouse to your lost boat; your circus to your monkey.

March 13, 2015, I found My Monkeys and My Circus.  I did not realize that taking that break from life to visit a book club would change my life forever, but it has, and I am so grateful for it!  There were roughly 7 ladies and 14 eyeballs that looked at me when I walked though that fateful door.  After a moment of being in the amazing presence of these ladies, I knew I found My Monkeys.  THIS was My Circus.

From all walks of life, we come being drawn by a love for books but it is our chemistry, our easy way with each other that makes the magic happen each month.   The shared love and care we all have for and with one another is hard to find in life.  I have many challenges in my life that pull at me and demand from me which drains my spirit but once I walk into that room, with those ladies, I am renewed and refreshed.  I feel all the strain seep out of my body until only happiness and joy are left.

Books & Broads Christmas Party 2016 1
Books & Broads Christmas Party 2016

The Books & Broads Book Club is my sanctuary in life.  I look forward to the day I can revisit Our Circus and be our Quirky Monkey selves!  I will never be able to express my Love, Appreciation, and Joy these Amazing Women bring into my life, I am just forever grateful that on that fateful day in March, I found My Monkeys and My Circus!

 

I Love You All, My Monkeys!  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in A Dog's Life

Ragonk – A Dog’s Tale of Survival

Ragonk Sitting Pretty
Ragonk – December 12, 2014

Ragonk (Rah-Gone-Kuh) teaches me many lessons in life. He has taught them to me from the moment he walked into my life one December night. I have been blessed by having this Boy-O come into my life and he gives me joy. The first lesson I learned from Ragonk is how to survive a bad situation until a better one arrives.

Back in December, 2014, Ragonk wandered into my garage with no tags and looking very scared and skittish. My roommate and I were having a Ragonk Party (radio blooper by one of the station employees when he was trying to say, “Rolando McClain” on the radio station we like to listen to called The Ticket).

The animal shelter was closed until Tuesday and I looked at the dog and said, “I need to come up with a name to call you over the weekend until the shelter opens.” One of my friends popped up and said, “Well, isn’t it obvious, his name should be Ragonk!” I called him that and he answered and has been Ragonk ever since.

I noticed as soon as Ragonk walked in the door that he showed signs of an abused dog. He was your typical abused dog that dropped his head and body bracing for a hit when someone walked up to him. He was scared to death of the sound of bacon cooking on the stove. He ran away anytime he saw a towel in someone’s hand and hid, shaking like a leaf once he was coaxed to come out of his hiding place. He walked tentatively around for fear of being yelled at or hit. His fear was more noticeable with men than women, but he was scared all the same of any person he saw.

Ragonk & Baden
Ragonk with Baden’s Ashes & Picture in the Background

It broke my heart. My dog, Baden, was old and grumpy but never knew what fear was and he welcomed Ragonk like he did all other animals, with a sniff and tail wag. Ragonk had a blast playing with Bodie, my roommate’s dog, and had a funny reverence for Baden. Whenever Baden would try and play with Ragonk, Ragonk would wag his tail until Baden did his first move then Ragonk ran away. If Baden was laying down, Ragonk would wag his tail and go sniff him but run as soon as Baden twitched.

As the weekend wore on, I noticed that Ragonk’s fear was starting to ebb and he was beginning to trust me and my roommate. He stayed by my side or would follow my roommate around wagging his tail. Yes, Ragonk was settling in.

Tuesday rolled around and I took him to the animal shelter where he immediately freaked out scratching my neck up and trying to get out of my arms. This alarmed me because I was not used to this behavior from him.

When I walked into the animal shelter they said they knew who he was because he was a “known escape artist” to them. They chipped him and so were able to tell me his name is “Steve” (STEVE!) and placed a call to the owner and inform him that the dog was found. The shelter offered to keep Ragonk, but based on his response, I declined and said I would keep him with me.

Happy Boy
Ragonk – March 20, 2017

A couple of days go by and I have not heard anything so I called to follow up. The animal shelter said the guy did not call them back, so I gave them permission to give him my phone number thinking when he got home the shelter was already closed and that was why they did not receive a call back.

The weekend rolls around and still no contact from the owner or the animal shelter. On the following Tuesday, I called back to the animal shelter and they were shocked that the guy had not called me back. I gave them permission to give him my address because I worked from home so he could stop by any time.

On Friday, I called the shelter back and they said they still had not received a call and offered to give me the guy’s address so I can show up with the dog on his doorstep. This guy lived two blocks from my house!  I told the shelter no because if I showed up the guy would take Ragonk and he obviously did not want him back based on his lack of contact.

After I hung up from the shelter, I called my long-time vet and asked what the statute of limitations were for an abandoned dog. My vet informed me it was ten days to two weeks, so I scheduled an appointment for Ragonk on the following Monday since the two weeks would be past.

The best thing the owner of Ragonk did was not contact me back. As time passed, Ragonk put aside his fears and took a chance on trusting us strangers who took him in and gave him a home. He survived an abusive existence to find happiness in a new home with lots of love by running away into my arms.

P.S. The “known escape artist formally known as Steve” has never once tried to run away from his new forever home.

Life is Good.jpg
Life Is Good!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in This & That

Reading + Writing Vortex = My Addiction

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  How many of you ever find yourself so immersed in an activity that you are ‘sucked into’ the vortex?  Hands? Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Oh, HEY!  There is one…oh, wait, that’s mine…

Ever since I was a kid, I have had this ability to tone everything around me out and become one with an activity.  This is a very strong super power of mine when it comes to reading or writing.

I will pick up a book with the intent of reading just one chapter and then hours later shake the imagination monkeys from my brain and return back to the real world to find the one chapter turned into ten or twenty or an entire novel! 😀

Yep, it is a wonderful super power, indeed.

The reason behind my reading vortex is simply the enjoyment of finding a new world to bring into my life.  Whether it is a scary story, funny story, romance, or biography, I love meeting new and interesting characters and learning about their lives and the world they live in.  I walk away from a story with new friends and a satisfaction so grand that I cannot wait for the next great adventure!

Queue in my other addiction of choice: writing.  I am working on my first novel and have written many poems and short stories in my life but the writing vortex I fall into willingly while writing my novel…man, no words can describe it!  I usually start off with a refresher of where I left off last and as soon as I start reading, my vortex engine begins to rev and then it is off I go!

When I write, the characters and their story drive my fingers and words.  I may start out with a concept or intent for a story line but as the characters are developed their life takes over and they become the driving force behind my writing.  Many times I realize at the end of a chapter or scene that it did not resemble my initial intent when I sat down to start writing.  This feeling is so Amazing and Otherworldly to me that I feel like my world is the imaginary world while the novel’s world is reality.

It is hard to try and express what this feels like because it is just that: a feeling; a sensation of images and thoughts.  It is my addiction.  A very good addiction at that.  It does not hurt anyone or mess up my life other than to take me to a new when instead of my when.  Other writers can probably express it better than I can because all I can come up with is my writing vortex…LOL

Reading & writing are so important to me, and for me, that they become something I need on a daily basis to live.  My Neanderthal friends will never get how or why I am so into reading or writing, but my Bibliophile friends are reading these words and shaking their heads yes while adding their own feelings to this. 🙂

See you on the flip side!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Everybody is a good person and a bad person at the same time.  The only real variation is in the balance.  How much good to how much bad.  When a person has a bigger good side, we call him a good person.  But it’s never absolute. ~August Shroeder (in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book Take Me With You)

Only a few days delayed on posting August’s Books & Broads Book Club book choice.  I will get back on track with September’s book, I promise, Dear Bloggites.

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan HydeAugust’s book club choice was Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  Once again the author of Pay It Forward, hit a homerun from the ball park.  Take Me With You is about a burned out school teacher name August Shroeder.  Every summer, August would travel with his son, Phillip, except this summer.

After losing his son, Phillip, August stopped drinking all together and is now on the recovery path from his alcoholic days.  On this summer trip, August planned on going to Yellowstone to spread the ashes of his son.  At the beginning of this rough trip, the RV breaks down and he is introduced to Wes and his two boys, Seth and Henry.  Wes has a strange request for August.  He asks August to take his two boys with him on his trip because Wes will be going to jail for the summer and the boys have nowhere else to go.

This is just the beginning of the storyline in this novel.  As you can figure out, the boys join August on his trip and all three of their lives are changed forever.  During the journey, August finds out Wes is an alcoholic and this trip to jail is not his first according to his sons.  As August learns from the boys, they learn from him and a lifelong relationship is born.

Catherine Ryan Hyde did a wonderful job at creating characters with such depth in this novel.  Each character has their own uniqueness about them that endears them to the readers.  During the journey, the author did a good job explaining the different things the kids experienced and saw through the main character, August.  The reader is able to learn something without being overwhelmed or distracted from the storyline.

While this book touches on alcoholism and AA Meetings, the focus is not on the disease but on the relationships being built from the experiences each character has by living with alcoholism in their lives.  At times, the book seemed to drag but for the majority of the read, the storyline was in constant motion.

The story is written in the third person (which I love) and is a bit on the touchy-feely side.  I normally do not prefer touchy-feely stories, but this one was not so much that it distracted the reader from the true purpose of the book, relationship building during times of trouble and loss.

I give Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you are looking for something new, give this book a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

~4-Ever, P