Monday, March 2, 2015

Things Fall Apart

 Things Fall Apart is written by Chinua Achebe and is the first book in The African Trilogy.  It is told from the perspective of a Nigerian Tribe as Christianity is thrust upon their world in the late 19th Century.  

I knew that this book was one that was critically acclaimed and perhaps that made me go into it with certain expectations.  With that being said, I definitely wouldn’t want to read this book again for many reasons.  

Let’s start with talking about the good aspects of the book.  At the time that it was written, Chinua Achebe led the charge with showing a Nigerian perspective of the Imperialist takeover of West Africa of the late 9th century.  As far as the book itself, I have to praise Chinua for taking an overall view in the description of life.  He manages to portray both the good and bad of the tribes that the reader follows throughout the story, and still shows a predominantly unbiased approach to the missionaries and their dealings.  

My biggest complaint about this book is the telling of it.  It told from an omnipotent narrative, that predominantly follows the life of Okonkwo, a revered Nigerian warrior.  The book can most be related to thinking within one’s mind.  When you are thinking about something such as ice cream, and then you describe it in detail and then it makes you think about food in general such as pizza, and then you think about Italy and then you try to remember what you were originally thinking about and you go back to the flavor of the ice cream.  Part one of the book was the worst about this.  The book was jumping around so much.  It would topic jump and then back track and retell part of the story and then jump again, and then go back to the same story later.  It was quite annoying to read, and disrupted the flow of the book quite extensively.  

I also wished for more descriptions.  I don’t know why I have encountered so many book recently that completely left off the physical descriptors of the people.  It is hard to become immersed within a story if the author fails to paint the full picture for you.  I had to look up pictures of 1890s era Nigerian tribal members to try to get a feel for what was going on at the time, and to try to bring the characters to life for me.  

My other problem in connecting with this book was that Part One took up almost 60% of the book being about the indigenous people, daily life, and beliefs, and then Part Two is in his mother’s village and the Christian missionaries are coming into their life, and the Part Three is very abrupt with Christianity thrust upon them. 
After all that, the end was very dissatisfying and left me saying…  “Wait, what?”  I don’t want to spoil it, but I feel that the end of the book went against Okonkwo’s nature as a warrior and in his belief that he would do such a thing.  

Overall I give the book 2 out of 5 stars.  I love the attempt that was made.  I wish this book had better flow.  It was a painful read for me to get through it.  I did love Okonkwo’s daughter, and it would be interesting to hear a book told from her point of view.  I get that it was nice to see something from this perspective and I can appreciate the subject material.  The bottom line for me is that if you strip that away and just look at this as a story, it is severely lacking in star quality.  It is a good read if you are interested in classics, historical fiction, Nigeria, British imperialism of west Africa, Christianity, Indigenous beliefs in Africa, the Igbos, etc.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Hybrid is written by Dr. Lawrence W. Gold and revolves around the Berg family.  The Berg family, namely Denise and Gabe have had trouble conceiving and make use of IVF (invitro-fertilization), resulting in the love of their life, a son named Zack.  This is book #7 is the Brier Hospital series and I can vouch for it as a spectacular stand along book, never having read any of the previous novels.

The book begins with a introduction into the struggle of the Basque people, and gives the reader a quick synopsis in the study of genetics, to include Neanderthal blood percentage.  During the struggle of the Basque, a broken man, Jorge Moneo, emerges from the wreckage and finds himself in the US in political asylum. 

Zack Berg shows himself to be a spectacular child from the moment he enters into the world.  His intellectual and physical abilities emerge at a rate far too rapid to be considered merely special.  The redeeming grace in his social uniqueness is his unique compassion and care for all of those around him.  His gifts may also be his downfall as he is quick to trust, regardless of the words of others.

I don’t want to get too in depth into the actual details of the story because it all ties together so well that I don’t want to spoil the journey of any future readers.  Suffice it to say that this is a brilliantly written novel that explores the depths of ones soul upon loss and the lengths one will go for revenge.  In tandem, you will also explore depths of genetics and human nature, and open your mind to the endless possibilities of genetics. 

Overall I give this book 5/5 stars.  Even though there were a few typos here and there, I barely noticed them as I sped through the pages, immersed in the adventures of the characters.  Dr. Gold has written a thrilling adventure in the realms of humanity and the emotions that come with it.  The genetic information just adds to the fun of reading.  I was slightly reminded of the TV show Kyle XY, although that was extremely different, it made me think of the emotions that Kyle goes through as being classified as different.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Medical thrillers, fiction, suspense, mystery, thriller, parenthood, genetics, Basques, etc.  I loved this book so much that I intend to find me way to the original 6 books in the series and to any that follow after this one. 

*I received this book in exchange for a fair an honest review. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Witch's Revenge

The Witch’s Revenge is written by Danny Odato and is his debut novel.  It features around an Indian village that becomes plagued by unexplainable accidents and deaths.

Let’s talk about the good parts first.  The base story of a girl out for revenge who learns dark craft is intriguing, and the village has likeable enough characters.  There is great potential in this story and it was different enough from other common topics that it was enjoyable.  It was apparent that Danny Odato took the time to understand certain close-knit aspects of a small Indian community.

This was easily identifiable as a debut novel by one main feature: editing, or lack thereof.  My first problem with this book arose from the cover photo.  There is a young woman in black that is very obviously not of Indian descent.  This struck me as unfitting, when so much of the book is featured around the importance of a traditional Indian village.  With so much focus on tradition, it seemed weird that there were a couple of Christian references to God from a traditional sense that would be focused more on a specific God and not just “God” in general, in Hindu belief. 

Danny Odato uses a multitude of Indian words, but offers no glossary and a lack of any explanation within the book for many of the words.  As a reader you are forced to try to take the context around the word to try to translate what he was meaning, and in some cases, you are left with a guess that is never confirmed, even after completion of the book. 

My number one complaint about this book; apart from the editing in general, would be a complete lack of descriptions.  I have no idea what anyone or anything in this book actually looks like.  I find it ignorant to just assume that “everyone looks like a traditional Indian”.  That could mean so many different things depending on the section of India that they are in.  The most description we get is about minute details, such as eyes gouged out or the beads of the witch.  Also the description of a persona was missing.  Instead of describing a character in a way that the reader can feel their emotions, the emotions are given repeatedly with no real descriptions, such as might saying someone walked depressingly and spoke depressingly.  I wanted to yell: “Quit telling me and show me”. 

Overall I give this book 2/5 stars.  I give Danny Odato props for putting himself out there and getting a book onto paper which is more than a lot of people have accomplished.  However, with that being said, you would think that he would have had some people look it over and edit it for me.  There was a complete 3 page section at the end of a chapter that was exactly repeated a few chapters later.  With some editing and possibly a descriptive writing workshop, I think that this story could blossom into something that would make a more enjoyable read.  It caters to a lover of witchcraft, India, fiction, mystery, etc.

*I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Christmas Lights Photos

These were done for a Christmas mini session, thanks to the local photographer Jeska Bailey.  Liam looks fantastic in them.  Enjoy

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

November 2014 Playlist

I know I know, still playing catchup, but there were a lot of powerful songs in November that I couldn't resist sharing.  Enjoy

1. Animus Vox- Glitch Mob: What better way to start a playlist than with some Glitch Mob.  Genius, pure genius in sound J   Always motivating.

2. One and Only-Adele: This is one of the songs that made me fall in love with Adele.  This song always spoke to me, because I know I have been in this position before…. it is still a powerful song even if that situation is long since passed.

3. Stereo Hearts-Gym Class Heroes feat Adam Levine: This song is too hard not to love!  I love both of these amazing singers.  The analogies are genius J

4. Chasing the Sun-Sara Bareilles: Sara always has vivid lyrics.  A picture is painted for you, with her soulful voice.  This voice is a definite story.  “capture the feeling that my earth is somebody’s ceiling”

5. Let It Go-Frozen/Idina Menzel: I only include this song for my son who is still obsessed with this song, and refuses to refer to the movie as Frozen, instead insisting that it is called “Let It Go”

6. 4 am-Melanie Fiona: This is probably why I have been a hermit for about 2 years now.  Went through this with the last person and I will never be put in that position again.  Yes I am damaged goods, I know.  Listening to this song, I can totally feel her pain.
7. You & I-John Legend: One of my favorite John Legend songs.

8. The Worst-Jhene Aiko: Although it is slightly repetitive, I always liked this song and Jhene’s voice.

9. Cold-Crossfade: Another spectacular song from the Punisher soundtrack.  Always ready to rock out with this song :)

10. Where The Lines Overlap-Paramore:  I don’t know any Paramore songs that I don’t love, but this is another great one to add to the list.  Great lyrics as always: “too much distance, to measure it out loud”

11. We Never Change-Coldplay: Coldplay is always great music to lose yourself into.

12. Tell Me-Groove Theory: Had to throw some mid-90s music into the middle of my playlist since the 90s were so awesome and this is a great song.

13. Anytime-Brian McKnight: Such a classic R&B song, and all that there was to love in R&B music growing up.  Always nice to through in a reminiscent song.

14. Please Send Me Someone to Love-Sade: There are no bad Sade songs.  All of her music is fantastic.  But this song is definitely true for me.  I am definitely always open to the right person to come into my life for me to love. 

15. Been a Long Day-Rosi Golan: I find myself relating to this song :)

16. Take Over Control (Extended)-Afrojack feat Eva Simons: It’s always nice to have some fun catchy music in a playlist :)

17. Give Me Everything-Pitbull feat Ne-Yo and Naya: I love love love this song :)

18. Be Your Girl-Teedra Moses: Great song also

19. Chasing the Sun (Hardwell Remix)-The Wanted: Always great to spice up a popular song with a good remix.  Haha I just realized I have two songs on this playlist called Chasing the Sun…

20. Lose My Breath-Destiny’s Child: Oh the Memories, and I also loved the preppy versus hood Destiny’s Child dance fight in the video.

21. Relentless-Blackmill: Had to have Blackmill grace my playlist with their iconic flowing beats :)

22. Heist-Lindsey Sterling: This song always makes me picture a high-speed chase, maybe even on the open seas, or else a car chase on windy roads for some reason.  Great driving, cleaning or dancing around the house song.

23. Wonder Woman-Trey Songz: I always liked this song, but I definitely prefer Trey with the clean cut

24. Hold It Against Me-Britney Spears: No reason needed…  It’s Britney B*tch :)

25. Shake It Out-Florence and the Machine: A Great rejuvenating, upbeat move on with your life song :)

26. What Do You Want From Me-Cascada: I love to work out to Cascada, plus the lyrics are great.  Get that out in the open, no playing around.

27. Don’t Wake Me Up-Chris Brown: It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s true

28. E.T.-Katy Perry feat Kanye West: I always felt that this song was fitting for me.  That the man I am meant to be with is obviously not the norm for this world.  I guess I need an alien ;)

29. Edge of Desire (Acoustic)-John Mayer: I don’t understand how anyone can NOT like John Mayer..  He just speaks to my very soul…  It’s like he sings to my whole being with all of his lyrics and his guitar and there is no one else in the world. I always dance around my house to this song, envisioning someone there with me.

30. Fearless-Colbie Caillat: Oh how I love Colbie.  This song speaks volumes.  It gives me strength in heart and reminds me that it’s ok to say goodbye and go on stronger and better from any situation.