Great Philosophy

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."-Dr. Seuss

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Reckoning by Eric Praschan

The Reckoning (The James Women Trilogy #3)

The James women (the remaining women) have all gotten together to make their lives more familial.

This is easiest the best book of Eric Praschan's trilogy. More story here and there is some finality to the history that was so prevalent in the first two books of the series. I'm glad that the James women have finally found some closure and happiness after the torment that some of them had to go through.

Written well, although there really was a lot of abuse in the story that was a little hard to take. Otherwise, a good group of novels to read.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sleepwalking Into Darkness by Eric Praschan


The James women's story continues, with more history being revealed.

Tony & Cindy have married and now live in Arkansas and have a daughter, Lexi. Things are well and Tony has been asked to do an interview with Psychology Today. He is departing for that interview when he leaves a pink envelope for Cindy.

Cindy opens the envelope and finds a letter to her from her mother. Her mother has asked he to look into the chess set that Cindy brought from the mansion. Inside the chess set she finds a white envelope that contains two postcards, a photograph, a letter and a silver key.

In the photograph is a blond haired girl. On the back of the photo is FIND HER AND SAVE HER. One of the postcards is of the Ozark Mountains and the other postcard is "Lookout Mountain".
The letter states that there is something buried under the house that Cindy grew up in in Chattanooga, TN. Her mother wants Cindy to find "her" from the photograph.

Tony, Cindy & Lexi travel to Tennessee and discover the identity and learn more secrets of the James women.

Eric Praschan left this one making you really wanting to read the last book of the trilogy, The Reckoning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Therapy for Ghosts by Eric Praschan


Cindy James is a Cognitive Behavior Therapist in Sleepy Oak, Missouri. She starts a memory from her past, memories that have long been suppressed, and faints in her office. She is then taken to a hospital, where tests are done for physical problems. There are no physical ailments and Dr. Shipper, a neurologist, tells she can not go back to work until she sees another CBT for at least an hour session.
She goes to the appointment with the only other CBT in town, Dr. Anthony Prost. She is immediately turned off by his office, his demeanor and only stays for half of the session, without really giving anything up about herself.
She goes home to her five-story home. She climbs into bed on the fifth floor and locks the two deadbolts like normal. She starts to have more memories and realizes that the perfection she thought she was attaining in her life is not there.
She goes back to Tony Prost for the next half hour to complete the obligation and be able to go back to work. Tony starts her on her process of remembering the terrors of her childhood and they decide to become friends.
Cindy then  decides that she needs to remember why she feels such failure with herself and her life. What in her past has made her feel incomplete and so inferior. Tony slowly helps her process those memories and they are not pleasant.
The vocabulary in this novel is very rich. Eric Praschan has a wonderful way with language. You are extremely drawn to finding out about Cindy's long suppressed memories of her childhood.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom


The year is 1791. A young, red-haired, white Irish girl who has become indentured to James Pyke. She has been brought to a plantation called Twin Oaks, in Virginia, and is handed to Belle and Mama Mae to learn how to help in the kitchen house. The young girls' name is Lavinia, although she can has repressed her memory of who she is or where she came from.

Belle is a black/white woman who helps Lavinia adjust to her surroundings and becomes very much like a mother to her. There are many other slaves who fill Lavinia's new life, some older and some her own age and younger.

Eventually, Lavinia recalls the loss of her parents, immigrants from Ireland, who passed away on the trip over to the United States, She also had a brother, Cardigan, who was indentured elsewhere.
Lavinia becomes a true member of the family at the kitchen house and at the plantation. She is very shy and aims to please all who come in to her life.

The Pykes, James (Cap'n) and Miss Martha, have two very beautiful blond children, Marshall & Sally. Lavinia does not have much interaction with them, as they are the children of the manse. There are occasions when they are allowed to interact, and Lavinia loves both of them.

A master is hired for Marshall Pyke, and things aren't right with how he is treating Marshall. The slaves can see this, but Miss Martha is often in a drug-induced state of mind, with her use of laudanum. This happens because her husband is often away on business in Philadelphia. Cap'n has hired a manager, Rankin, who takes care of the plantation. Rankin is very mean-spirited and extremely prejudice about the indentured individuals working at Twin Oaks.

Lavinia's life takes on many changes. As she is white, she is treated differently than the black slaves, especially at church.

This novel is based on real events researched by the author and there are some very happy events, but also some horrible events. I really like the way Kathleen Grissom switches the chapters between Belle and Lavinia. It gives you a true sense of both sides of plantation life at Twin Oaks.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Revival by Stephen King

RevivalJamie Morton is a six year old and has received the best birthday present ever from his sister Claire. It is a foot locker full of soldiers and tanks. Jamie spends many hours in his yard creating battles between the Americans & the "Krauts".

This is in the summer of 1962. Jamie lives with his family in Maine (where else!). His family consists of his parents, his sister and 3 brothers.
They are a very church-going family and the older children attend MYF classes at the church each week.

One day Jamie is creating a battle in front of his home when a shadow falls over him. This is his introduction to the new Reverend of the family church.

Jamie learns to love Reverend Jacobs and his wife Patsy and their son, Morrie. The reverend share many fun things involving electricity with MYF classes and Jamie. The reverend has a love of learning about electricity and creates many fun experiments.

A few years into this a car accident takes the life of the reverends wife and son. Reverend Jacobs is inconsolable, but continues to preach until what is call by the Morton family as "The Terrible Sermon".

Reverend Jacobs leaves the church and the Morton family miss him, but continue to live, although the church has slowly not become as important as it once was.
Jamie becomes involved in music and gets into some bad situations. As he has gotten into a very bad lifestyle, his "fifth business" pops back into his life. The reverend is the mentioned "fifth business".

The reverends absolute love of learning about electricity has always stayed with him and seems to be his escape after the loss of his wife & son. These experiments will rule the rest of this book and lead Jamie, Reverend Jacobs and many more characters to some very interesting conclusions.

Stephen King is my favorite author and this was well written, as usual, but the ending left me a little flat, but it is always a pleasure to read from a master, whether you like the ending or not.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bad Elephant Far Stream by Samuel Hawley


Far Stream, the elephant, is born to her mother in the wild. She has a sister, Red Moon. Men come and take the herd. Far Stream is separated from her family and shipped to the United States. She then becomes part of a circus and learns to dance and become part of pyramids and such.
The novel tells us of Far Stream's journey. You feel her joy, her pain, her sorrow at given points. Being told from Far Stream's perspective, this is written well.
I would definitely recommend this book, as we all need to be reminded that humans aren't the only living creatures that have feelings and matter.

I was lucky enough to win an ebook copy of this book for early review by LibraryThing.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prison Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates


I have often said that I could see sitting in prison, being able to just relax and read books for a while.

This book has changed my mind about that. Some of these stories have you feeling sorry for the individual, some have you hating the individual, but all are extremely well-written and there are a few that surprised me a lot.

You have images of men and women in prison who are probably not well educated or well written. Untrue according to these stories.

This book is filled with draw-you-in stories and some even leave you wanting to know the outcome for these prisoners.

This was very well done and edited perfectly by the great Joyce Carol Oates.