The Brethren by John Grisham -Book Review

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Trumble is the name of a minimum security prison with the usual variety of inmates such as drug , bank robbers and embezzlers. This prison also has a unit called The Brethren made up of three lawyers. although they have no license to practice, they do quite a lot of  for fellow inmates.

They meet daily in the law library where they handle cases for the inmates and write briefs. They have been known to settle justice in the prison type of method.

However, with all this work, you would not think they have time for mischief, but you would be so very wrong. They have hatched a mail scheme that is very lucrative until they get caught by accusing the wrong person. They chose the wrong victim this time. he is powerful and has dangerous friends.

This causes the once lucrative mail scheme to start to fail and the flowing in of sizable cash  to diminish. What will they do?

As in every Grisham story , this one has great characters, superb  plots and keeps you glued to your seat edge till the very end.

I recommend this author because he never disappoints, This book is just another complex story made simple. you will love it.

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The Confession by John Grisham – Book Review

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I have never read a John Grisham book that wasn’t fantastic. The Confession is no different. Grisham is such an excellent storyteller and he keeps your attention. His books are all page turners. His plots are fresh and relevant.

This story is about an unknown person who comes to see the minister of the church to speak with him. This is not an unusual event for such talks to take place, but this turns out to be a unique event. After speaking a while, the man wants to make a confession. This is the beginning of a long story for the minister and a challenging and scary journey is taken as a result..

This stranger who confesses is confessing to a long-ago crime. His timing makes the journey a real adventure because they are on a deadline. The deadline they are trying to beat is the execution of the man wrongly accused and convicted of the crime the confessor claims is his.

The story will take you in many directions. The Confession lets you be a fly on the wall to observe the incredible story as this happened. It gives insight into the preparations for an execution. It shows you the reality of the electric chair.

If you enjoy mysteries about the law, you will find this book an eye-opener as to what lawyers are up against trying to save clients. I recommend this book to all who like lawyer mysteries and John Grisham.

 

 

Lost Horizon by James Hilton – Book Review

Lost Horizons

As I revisit my childhood classics, I found a copy of Lost Horizon. I’m sure it’s on the reading list somewhere or I read it in school, wherever or whoever recommended it, I am thankful I read it and now, reread it.

Lost Horizon takes place in an isolated monastery in the mountains of Tibet in Shangri-La. As he and his friends discovered this place, they are amazed at all the modern touches at this monastery. Those who greet them and make them welcome our almost all very old monks who seem healthy and fit.

Eventually, the main character, Conway, can meet the main monk in charge, the High Lama. The esteemed gentleman he meets with can explain much of what Conway had questioned and soon reveals some of the details that made this place so grand.

The book examines some ethical questions and it is interesting to pretend to take part in the conversation. The range of answers covers many options. Lost Horizon was published in 1933 for the first time. It has been reprinted often which shows the story is timeless and the questions this book forces you to answer are still relevant.

I recommend this book for any lover of mysteries and fantasies. I loved it and think it would be a great story for young people especially. Of course, when I read it the first time I was a young person. Rereading it at age 72 I still find it very enjoyable.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – Book Review

Notebook

This novel has been available for a while, since 1996 in fact. I’ve always wanted to read it, but since I read many genres in both e-books and physical books, the TBR list is long. I also never saw the movie. A rule of mind when possible is to read the book 1st, then watch the movie.

This is a wonderful love story. It spans many years that have not been without challenge, especially in the beginning. They married against the advice and family disapproval. They struggled and worked hard, but never stopped loving each other. We learn about the definition of ageless love and passion that lasts into old age.

Later in life, when his wife becomes admitted to a nursing home with the major problem being her Alzheimer’s, the husband reads to her every day and helps her regain and keep some memories.

Even later in years, his health has deteriorated, and he joins her in the nursing home. Even though, he is also ill, he still sneaks to her room and shares memories with her.

The love and passion they both feel after all these years is so touching.

I highly recommend read this book it is a celebration of love and devotion to your spouse that is incredible.

The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Book Review

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Since I’m rereading old classics, and this was one of the great American Reading Books on the list I decided to work from that list for my classic reviews. Though Oscar Wilde is known for his plays, this is his only novel, first published in 1890. You will find earlier books under the name of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray first published this novel as a magazine series, and it was thought to be so immoral that the publisher cut 500 pages from the manuscript. It comes in many covers and you may want to be sure you get what you wanted, the cut addition or the whole book as written by Wilde.

It is a story about beauty and conceit and vanity. It focuses on a young man known for his beauty. The young man, Dorian Gray is told every day that he has exceptional beauty. At first he was modest and accepted these compliments humbly.

Later, when an artist friend, asked to paint his portrait, he finally agrees to sit for his friend. When finished and he had last taken on ownership he is enthralled with it. It is just what he needed to reconfirm, his amazing beauty.

The young man soon discovers the painting holds a dark secret. Eventually he must hide the painting from other eyes. He does this in order that others cannot see the secret the painting reveals.

This is a great story, whether you consider it has as a sci-fi or horror book, it is a classic everyone can enjoy. I highly recommend it. Others evidentially agree as it was one of 100 picked as the favorite books of the American readers.

Today, I’m ambivalent about being an author

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With the new year approaching, I decided I should get all negative feelings out of my mind and heart. I love new beginnings, whether it is starting a new project or a new school year when I was younger, it always motivated me and made me passionate. I guess I like change, but only sometimes, like, when changes are being sought after and beginnings being looked forward to as another chance at getting it right.
Some days, I think writing is a colossal waste of time. The way we tell that or come to that conclusion is that we are not selling any books. I guess I have not reached even a little bit of success when you count the few books I have sold since I became an author.
My first book was written in response to a need. We were training foster parents and I needed something in written form to help answer the thousands of questions we received. I wrote a non- fiction called It Begins and Ends with Family. It did not sell well, but I did give hundreds of books away. People said it was a limited market book, so I advertised it as parenting and sold a couple more. Still not setting the world on fire.
I decided to write about my passion, what really mattered to me, so Ultimate Betrayal was created. It focused on the problem of child sexual abuse and was told as a dystopia tale in the beginning of end times. I truly believed a fiction book would get a more emotional response from people and would sell much better than a non-fiction. Wrong again-since I was told many could not read such a heart- breaking tale. It disgusted many and even though I strived to make it less sensational and vulgar, people shied away from it.

However, the six people or so who read it wanted a sequel which I obliged. It was called Ultimate Obliteration and that was even less popular. Understand, the people who read my stuff usually give it 5 stars. But, there have been so few.
All this time, I was still writing short articles for many places and decided to put a collection of them into a book. A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts was born and has also had little success.
I tried taking a good look at my writing, I never thought it was wonderful or grand or should be number one on anyone’s list, I thought it just may be interesting to many readers. After all, writing to me is not about making money or I would have left long ago. It is not even about the writing if I’m truthful, it is only about being read.

I thought okay, I must write something that will be happy, enjoyable and less objectional. I decided on a children’s book. This book is for little ones being read to or beginning readers just learning. I found a great illustrator and we whipped out Spitzel and the Spider. People read it and raved. Said it should fly off the shelves, but did it? You guessed it. No!!!
I realize writers and authors are much like gamblers. We put everything we have in it and place our bet that we will win. You would think my casino visits would have forewarned me, but being a dreamer carries over to all phases of your life. So, I placed the bet. As I said up front, I must get rid of these negative feelings before starting the new year or I may not feel encouraged enough to start again.

Seriously, where else can you do so much work to get so little return. We cultivate people ‘s friendship with the hope they may be readers. We post and post on book clubs to garner a few likes and feel eternally grateful when anyone shares our links. We hunt for reviews like half- starved wolves or even closer to Zombies. We do all that and then after viewing stats that would make most people suicidal, try to gather enough energy and interest to write something again. We really are a special kind of breed. I know many famous authors were rejected numerous times, but that knowledge is not enough.

So, I will plan a few more days of post- holiday season laziness and then with all the passion I can muster, I will write again. And yes, call me an author too. If you feel as I do, remember it is a new year. It is another chance to be discovered. Another possibility that we will gain readers. So, limber up your body. Meditate to a calm point and clear your mind. With a pot of hot tea and low-cal snacks (it is after Christmas after all) begin that novel or finish that project. Shake hands with some great characters you created and dive right in. It is said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. So, what does that say about us? The only thing I can see is we must think quite differently about marketing and try something new. After all, “What do we have to lose?”

Book Review-The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

 

Prince and Pauper

I recently began re-reading some classics from my childhood and it has been a joy to read this tale again.

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain is a charming story of a bored with life Prince and a poor lad who aspires to the life of nobility. An opportunity arises and they tried changing places. The fact that they look almost identical makes this far-fetched idea believable. Before they have a chance to switch back to their own identities, they are stuck in their new roles. The unusual for them, adventures and challenges become part of their everyday life and are extraordinary.

We know Mark Twain for his humorous look at humanity and as always some still makes its way into this story. In this book, however, we see another side of the man who loved humanity and could see the humor in all we do. We see the political side of Twain. The issues he dealt with in this fun story showed that he recognized the great disparity between the classes. He focused on some of the problems that were normally judged by the Prince. He was able to show how a different approach to these issues had at its heart a caring for people and a fairness of conscience. Meanwhile, the pauper learns that being royalty is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it is often very difficult.

The book is full of well – defined characters and a surplus of unique personalities that people this tale.

The Prince and the Pauper is considered a tale for ‘young people of all ages.’ I suggest you give it a try, whether for the first time or revisiting it once again at a more mature age.

I recommend this delightful book for everyone. Humor accompanies anything that is Mark Twain, but this is also a wonderful statement about what Twain sees as the problems in society, even way back then when this was written.