A Review of “The Orphan’s Tale”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my latest WIP and I’m excited about this new one, too. I’ve sent my first one off to my Beta reader and she gave me some quick feedback. She told me the opening was AWESOME! So, you can guess I’m beyond excited. I’ll keep you posted as she continues reading the rest. 🙂

I’m back today to share with you my thoughts on “The Orphan’s Tale.” The cover and blurb are below:

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel by [Jenoff, Pam]

“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. ” —Library Journal

“Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

As you know, I love reading WWII stories. Especially ones where the main character, usually a Jew, overcomes the adversity of Nazi Germany and that is exactly what this story is about.

I absolutely loved it.

It’s the story of Noa and Astrid. How they meet and their relationship. I loved Noa who is young, strong, and naïve. She’s kicked out of her home when she becomes pregnant by a German soldier. She goes to a home for unwed mothers and because her baby has German blood, he is taken away from her. Mourning her loss, she finds work at the train station and happens upon a car full of babies. I won’t tell you what happens next, but it’s an incredible story.

Then there’s Astrid, a Jew married to a German who’s also a member of the Nazi party. He comes home one day and tells her the marriage is over. The Reich is demanding that all members married to Jews get a divorce. She has to pack up and leave that very day. She travels back to her home town searching for her family, but they’re all gone. She used to be a circus performer so she travels to a competitor’s home inquiring about her family. She learns the awful truth and the owner asks her to join his circus.

The circus is how Noa and Astrid meet and the rest of the story takes off from there. They both have their secrets and the girls band together and protect each other. It’s an amazing story of friendship and survival. If you’re a WWII buff like me, you’ll want to read this story. I can see it becoming a movie very soon.

Like I said, I loved this story and I’m going to be looking for more books from this author. How about you, do you have any books you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

 

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The Dark Side of Social Media

Photo credit: the UMF via Visual hunt / CC BY

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the dark side of Social Media. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being able to stay connected to all my friends and colleagues. It’s great to be able to chat with someone I haven’t seen in years. Social Media is an amazing tool.

I’ve used it when I’m researching information for my stories. I contact people who are experts in their fields and pick their brains. That way, I know what I’m adding to my story is accurate. It makes my story more authentic. Please understand, the people I contact, I’ve already established a relationship with them. I just don’t follow them or add them as a friend and then start bombarding them with questions. 🙂

This is an incredible way to get information, and I can see my kids using social media to do research for papers when they get older, but there’s a dark side to the internet as well.

Not everything on social media is as it seems, and we must teach our littles the difference. First of all, social media is the image someone wants to project. People usually post only about the positive things in their lives. This is okay, no one wants to hang with a Negative Nancy, but it’s only half the picture. Everyone experiences happiness and struggles. We need to remind our kids about that so they don’t get caught up in the world where likes and follows become more important than real relationships.

Photo credit: Kris Olin via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

          It’s sad to say, but it goes even deeper. Teens are using social media to hook up. That means to get together and have sex. They send out a tweet or a post asking if anyone wants to hook up. If someone responds in the affirmative, they make the arrangements. They’re even sending naked photos of themselves via the internet.  Isn’t that scary? In my opinion, social media hinders our ability to connect emotionally as human beings.

Photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, Hiking.org via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

          We need to be cognizant of this trend and turn it around because if we don’t, our kids may never learn to make that emotional connection. We don’t want to lose that because it would mean we’re losing a big part of what makes us human, wouldn’t you agree?

A friend recommended this book to me and I’ve just started it, but it inspired this blog post. I believe it’s important for every parent to read, to understand the climate our kids are trying to navigate today. The cover and blurb are below.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by [Sales, Nancy Jo]

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls. 

Provocative and urgent, Ameran Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

Like I said, I just started reading it so I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on the topic at a later date. 🙂 So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I appreciate it! What do you think? Do you think Social Media has a dark side, or is it all sunshine and unicorns? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Intellectual Capitalism

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about a term I heard this week. It’s called “Intellectual Capitalism.”

Photo via Visual Hunt

What is intellectual capitalism? That is a very good question and below is the definition.

 

Intellectual capitalism (IC) can be interpreted as a convergence of a capitalist economy and a knowledge or information economy. It refers to an economic system with basic capitalist institutions in which productive assets and processes, as well as commercial transactions and products, are predominantly intellectual or non-material rather than physical in nature.

 

Watch the video below from BigThink.com. They explain it in layman’s terms.

 

https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom/videos/10154081233018527/

 

So what does this mean? It means intellectual capital is where the future is headed. Repetitive jobs are going to be wiped out, taken over by robots. But there are still some things robots can’t do, like interpret human behavior or analyze emotions. So there’s still hope for the human race!  My interpretation of this is any person who’s creative and has analytical skills will be in high demand. That’s where the jobs are going to be.  So the future looks bright for us writers and artists.  We’re creative and analytical, wouldn’t you agree?

Photo via Visual hunt

 So brush up on those writing skills my friends they’re going to be in high demand!

Thanks for stopping by this morning and reading my post. Sorry to say, but I had a birthday this week so my post is short and sweet. I’ll return next week with a longer post!

What do you think about the future? Do you agree? Let me know. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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If you had an extra $243,000 would you buy Hitler’s phone?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an edit of my manuscript. I’m sending it off to a beta reader/editor so cross your fingers for me. I hope she likes it. This is a good story. I’m excited about it. Squeee! But, enough about that.

I’m back today to express my horror over this article. Someone paid $243,000 for Hitler’s phone. Don’t believe me? Check out the Huffington Post’s article on it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hitler-phone-auction_us_58ab36c2e4b0f077b3ecd032

I find this perplexing. I know it’s historical memorabilia but I wouldn’t want it sitting in my house. I’d worry Hitler’s spirit would be lurking in that phone, and what if it rings. Do you answer it? Who’d be on the other end? Himmler? Mengele?

That would definitely freak me out. I don’t want to talk to either one of them.

Look at it. It’s a Rotary Phone for Christ’s Sakes. It can’t even take selfies. Jeez!

I sure wouldn’t spend $243,000 for a phone either. Even if it was Hitler’s. I just think that’s weird. I can think of so many other things I’d have to have other than Hitler’s phone. Heck, I bet $243,000 would buy food, clothes, and even shelter for some homeless people.

I mean, seriously, get your priorities straight.

Just some random thoughts going through my head as I write this blog post. I’m interested in World War II. I cannot fathom how Hitler was able to command men to murder so many Jews. I’ve done a little research and I found some interesting facts about him. Did you know his father was half Jewish and Hitler hated him because he was cruel and abusive?

I can certainly understand his hatred of his father, but to believe it was the fact that he was half-Jewish was the cause of the abuse is irrational. I would think at some point he must’ve realized what he was doing was wrong. But he didn’t. He actually believed he was doing the right thing and so many people followed him. That’s what I find scary.

I’ve been reading quite a few WWII stories. Right now I’m reading “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” It’s well written and very factual about the portrayal of life in Poland during the war.

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by [Ackerman, Diane]

My all-time favorite WWII stories are “All the Light We Cannot See” and “The Book Thief.” I bet you’re wondering how I started out this post about Hitler’s phone and ended up talking about books. That’s just how I roll. 😉 It’s one of the amazing talents I have. 🙂

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by [Doerr, Anthony]

 

So tell me, if you had $243,000 burning a hole in your pocket, would you buy Hitler’s phone or would you spend it on something else? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, Uncategorized, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

American Greed

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back and I’m here to talk about the world we live in today. After reading the book “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” I was upset. The level of corruption in this story was heartbreaking especially when you see the innocent lives that have been lost because of it.

Detroit: An American Autopsy by [LeDuff, Charlie]

I’m sad because the men in power put their own greed above the lives of these people. That in a nutshell is what’s wrong with our world today. This feeling that there isn’t enough. We have to have more. Where did this come from?

I know it’s a competitive streak. We all want to be the best, but what determines the best? What magical standards are we trying to achieve? The thing is we’re all as unique as snowflakes. Let’s celebrate that. If we were all comfortable in our own skins we wouldn’t feel the need to keep up with the Jones. We’d be too busy wallowing in our happiness to care what they were doing.

Photo via VisualHunt

          That’s why we as humans must become internally oriented. We must decide what makes us happy and work toward those goals and allow everyone else the same freedom. We’ll be so busy making ourselves happy we won’t have time to see what our neighbors are doing. If we let go of judging other people and they in turn let go of judging us, we’ll have a happier society.

I know what you’re thinking. Sure that takes care of the neighborhood when times are golden, but what about when times are tough?  Like they are now. That’s a good question and I’m here to tell you that we need to make a major shift in our society. We see what’s happening in cities like Detroit and Flint. We see how corruption destroyed people during the housing bubble, we see how the market is manipulated on Wall Street. We even see how the Catholic Church covered up abuse in their hierarchy, but we don’t do anything about it.  When I think about all those priests who abused kids in their parishes and got caught. It makes me sick. It makes me even more nauseous when I think about how the church covered up the abuse. They moved these priests around. Not one priest went to jail. Not one. We should’ve been marching at the steps of Rome over that one.

 

Photo credit: Greg Hayter via VisualHunt / CC BY

          It appears to me, there are two sets of laws in our country. The people in power can break the law and no one goes to jail.  The average Joe pulls one of their stunts and it’s a totally different story. It’s in the papers and on the news.  This has to change. There’s one set of laws for all of us. All of us. And it’s simple. If you break the law, you are held accountable. There are no excuses.  How do you feel about that? Leave a comment. I’d love to read how you feel!

To learn more about some of the points I brought up in this post click the links below:

My Thoughts on the Movie Spotlight: Corruption in the Catholic Church

My Thoughts on the Big Short

My Thoughts on Money Monster

Posted in USA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Staring at the Moon: A Slice of Life Post

Write. Share. Give.

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. Last week when I was leaving work, I glanced up at the sky and saw a full moon shining bright.

Photo via Visual hunt

Just seeing that glowing orb in the sky calmed my frayed nerves. I’ve been working toward a self-imposed deadline and that moon was just what I needed to see to relax. You see, I wanted to complete my latest work in progress by the end of the month, and I’m happy to say I completed the rough draft. Now I’m going through and doing a quick edit before I send it off to my beta reader. I’m very excited about this story, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say, but I digress.

I was talking about how seeing the moon calmed me. Our universe is amazing and whenever I see it in action, so to speak, I’m humbled. The elements and minerals that make up our bodies also swirl among the heavens. We are bits and pieces of exploding stars. I just think that’s incredible.

Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

 

Isn’t it amazing that the earth is just the right distance from the sun so we can thrive on it? If it were any closer, it’d be too hot and we’d sizzle on the surface. There’s only one planet in the solar system that can sustain life for our species so we’ve got to take care of it.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Visual Hunt / CC BY

I also think it’s amazing that when cells divide whether they’re in a plant, or animal, or in a human they all make the same pattern. Isn’t that mind boggling? It just shows how connected everything is. That’s how close we are. These are the thoughts that go through my head when I look at the moon or the stars at night.

How about you? What goes through your mind when you’re alone and staring at the stars? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

Posted in Slice of LIfe | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Detroit: An American Autopsy: A Review

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m excited to say that I’ve finished my story, except for the epilogue. I’m excited about this one. I think it’s my best work so far.

I’ve also been reading. Writing and reading seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? I stepped out of my comfort zone and picked a book that was recommended to me.  It’s non-fiction and it’s titled: “Detroit An American Autopsy” written by Charlie LeDuff.

It’s the true story about the rise and fall of one of the largest cities in the United States. It is the story of a corrupt political system and the fleecing of the American people and it’s happening in cities all across the country. This story is what’s wrong with America. The cover and blurb are below:

 

Detroit: An American Autopsy by [LeDuff, Charlie]

An explosive exposé of America’s lost prosperity—from Pulitzer Prize­–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff

 

Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family’s troubled past. Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass-production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark, and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses, LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. He beats on the doors of union bosses and homeless squatters, powerful businessmen and struggling homeowners and the ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination. Detroit: An American Autopsy is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.

Charlie LeDuff’s story exposes the greed and corruption behind not only our political system but our judicial system as well. It’s time the American people stepped up to the plate and did something about it because this is happening in cities all across our country. This story is an eye-opening read and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know the truth behind Detroit’s downfall.

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