Posted in reviews

My Thoughts on “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

Hello everyone, I’m back today with another book review. I had the opportunity to read “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. The blurb and the cover are below.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer

My Thoughts:

This story was well-written and very dark, which you’d probably discern from the title. 🙂 However, it was darker than I expected so if you don’t like that type of book, then you won’t like this one. It was an incredibly sad story.

The main character is Libby who, like all the children, suffers from the side effects of parents with a bad marriage. They finally divorce and Libby’s mother is unable to run the farm and raise four children. She neglects the children and can’t provide for them and neither can their father.

This family is like a covered pot that’s about to boil over. Big brother Ben falls in with the wrong crowd and takes up with a mentally unstable girl. This is when things spiral out of control. She ends up pregnant and literally ruins Ben’s life.

She doesn’t want her father to find out she’s pregnant and when Ben and Libby’s sister, Michelle, learns of the pregnancy, she threatens to tell everyone else in the family.

I won’t go into more detail than that because I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but even though this is a tragic story, it does have a happy ending.

So if you don’t mind a major dose of darkness in your reading this is a book for you. If you do mind the darkness, you’ll probably want to skip this one. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book or have a book recommendation for me, if you do, leave a comment. I’d love to read it! J

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Posted in Parenting, Teen

Is the Instalove in YA books setting our teens up for Disappointment?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a three day Writer’s Conference that I thoroughly enjoyed. It gave me the extra incentive I needed to tackle a couple of projects that I’ve been thinking about and I’m going to start on those soon.

I’ve finally finished my personal editing process for my fourth novel and I’m excited about it. It’s a coming of age novel and it’s grittier than my past work. I’ve branched out into new territory and that’s exhilarating for me.

I’ve also been reading more too. I’ve just finished Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl.”

 

It was a great story; however, I didn’t like it as much as “Eleanor and Park.”

The main thing that I enjoyed about “Fangirl” is the fact that the love story between Cath and Levi wasn’t instalove like you find in other young adult books. This is important, in my opinion, because it gives a more realistic view of what love is supposed to be like for our young people.

Instalove or love at first sight is unrealistic and if the stories that portray it are the first glimpse of what love is like for our young girls, I think it sets them up for disappointment. They’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.

In my opinion, love at first sight should actually be called attraction at first sight. I agree we can become attracted to someone just by his or her physical presence, but this should never be mistaken for love.

As parents and educators, we need to teach this to our girls. Boys need to learn it too, but many of them don’t read the instalove books that young girls do, so they don’t receive the same misconstrued message.

In my opinion, we need to teach our teens communication skills that will help them negotiate the turbulent emotions they’ll feel when they embark on that treacherous trail of love. Especially that first love. Nothing will burn as deep as this first one.

Both of Rainbow Rowell’s books do this. Another book that shows us that love starts out as friendship is “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Real love always starts out that way.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts on instalove in our books for teens? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment!

 

 

Posted in Health

Let’s save the Bees!

Photo compliments of Creative Commons on Flicker. Photographer Mike Baird

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about Bees. That’s right. Bees. I received an e-mail early this morning and it was a call to action.

A call to action to boycott a company that manufactures a pesticide that is detrimental to bees’ health. This started me thinking, why would we need to boycott this company. Why are bees so important?

So, I did some research and I found bees are extremely important to our way of life. I was totally shocked. Who would’ve thought this tiny insect would have such an impact.

They do though, without bees there would be no cross-pollination. Cross-pollination occurs when a bee takes pollen from one flower and delivers it to another flower. Without cross-pollination, there would be no flowers or trees. In addition, without trees there’d be no oxygen.

I bet you can see where I’m going with this.

It’s a scary thought. Did you know more than one hundred agricultural crops in the United States are pollinated by bees? That means bees are essential for the production of nearly seven billion dollars’ worth of crops in Arizona alone.

So I can see the growing concern for keeping our bee population thriving. It’s not thriving though. In fact, bees have been disappearing from the hives. The normal declination rate is five percent each winter; this rate has risen to almost fifty percent in some cases. Scientists are calling this Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Photo compliments of Flickr Creative Commons by Know Malta by Peter Grima

What is the cause of this disorder? Scientists aren’t sure. There are many who believe pesticides are the problem. Others believe a virus has weakened the bees’ immune system. Still others hold onto the theory that the use of cell phones messes with the bees’ ability to find their way back to their hives. Something about the magnetic fields that cell phones generate.

Whatever the reason, this is a cause for alarm. According to Albert Einstein, “Mankind would be extinct four years after honeybees disappeared from the face of the earth.”

What can we do? So far, scientists have only speculated on the causes of CCD. Until we know the real causes behind it, we’ll have to be cognizant about the bees and refrain from swatting them with a newspaper. They’re good for the earth.

In addition, if you’re interested in helping them, plant some flowers this spring and feed the bees. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. Photographer is Patty Vicknair

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you have any thoughts on the bee situation please leave a comment. I’d love to read it!  🙂

 

For some interesting facts about honey bees, click the link below!

http://christinamercer.com/honeybees/

***I would like to thank beachbistro.com and Joyfusions.com for some of the information in this post. The links are below.

http://www.beachbistro.com/the-bees-knees-a-drink-to-bug-our-politicians/

http://joyfusions.com/what-is-pollination-and-why-honey-bees-are-important-pollinators/

Posted in Fund Raiser

“Books on Base”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today to share with you an exciting project that I’ve been working on, it’s called “Books on Base.”

Books on Base Logo

The purpose of “Books on Base” is to gather children’s books and donate them to our military bases. I’m working in conjunction with VolunTEEN Nation on this project. VolunTEEN Nation is an organization that encourages teens to volunteer. They have volunteer opportunities throughout the United States.

Volunteen nation logo

To learn more about this wonderful organization click this link http://www.volunteennation.org/

We’re hoping to increase the selection of books for the young people whose parents are serving our country. As we all know by improving the libraries, we can have a positive effect on literacy levels. Check out this blog post for the proof.  https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/improving-our-libraries-will-improve-our-literacy-levels/

What a wonderful way to show our support of our troops by donating books to their libraries. I’m going to be making a donation. How about you?

If you’d like to make a donation, you can send your children’s paperbacks to this address:

VolunTEEN Nation

500 South Meramec Ave

St. Louis, MO 63105

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or you can e-mail me directly at lisa.orchard1@hotmail.com

Have a great day!

Posted in Health

The Price of Fame

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to discuss the price of fame. It seems to me, in the last couple of years there have been a number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. I blame fame for the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson.

This photo courtesy of Justin Hoch
http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The reason I blame fame is simple. When you become famous, your privacy’s gone. To me, an outsider looking in, everyone wants a piece of a celebrity. Reporters hound them. They take pictures of their families when they’re having some down time. Just going to the market becomes newsworthy and photographers follow them for the one shot that’s going to make millions. How would you feel if you were running to the market in your sweats, to get your kid some cough medicine, and a mob of photographers were chasing you?

All of this because they’re a great actors or musicians. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet George Clooney or Brad Pitt. I’d also love to sit down with Steven King and the members of Rush just to get to know them and pick their brains. However, I would never dream of camping outside their homes just hoping for a picture.

That’s where fame turns ugly, when reporters and photographers make money off a famous face, boundaries get blurred and violated. I understand how some celebrities get so angry; they get into physical altercations with the reporters and photographers who follow them.

Not only do celebrities have to deal with paparazzi following them, they also have to deal with the pressure from the industry. Pressure to look good all the time. Pressure to be better than their last stellar role or album.

It seems like, when you’re a celebrity there’s no time to relax. They work ungodly hours to get a scene right or adhere to a tour schedule. That’s when the need for medication rears its ugly head.

They need it to keep them awake and then they need it to help them sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle. After a while, they’re hooked and in some instances, they need to take more of it to get the same effect.

Their dependency spirals out of control and they’re taking stronger and stronger drugs. In my opinion, this behavior leads to addiction to drugs such as meth and heroin.

So, instead of attaching labels to these people and assigning blame, why don’t we solve the problems that create the addictions in the first place? Why don’t managers create a schedule that allows our celebrities to maintain their health? Why don’t we pass laws that keep the paparazzi away? I know it sounds like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, but it would be a start.

Of course, then there would be the reporters screaming about free press and the public’s right to know, but what about the celebrities’ rights? Don’t they have a right to privacy as well?

Thanks for reading my post today. If you would like to share your ideas regarding this post, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Sara Stinson as she shares one of her Favorite Recipes with us!

Lisa,

Thank you for having me today.  I’m excited to be here and ready to share one of my favorite recipes.

Living in the south, we cherish recipes handed down by our families.  I have several diverse and delicious recipes given to me by my mother and father.  Both were great cooks!  I decided to choose one of the items Dad had on his menu.

Not many people know, but my father, Fred Calhoun, owned a restaurant when he was very young, and one of his best sellers was his chili for hotdogs.  Through the years, this recipe has been enjoyed for many different occasions.  Many times, the chili made a hit at a birthday party or even at Christmas.

The following is his recipe.  Please try it sometimes and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

FRED’S CHILI FOR HOTDOGS

Ingredients:

3 lbs. hamburger meat

4 large onions

3 24 oz. ketchups

5 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. salt

Directions:

Cover hamburger meat in hot water in a big boiler.  Mash and stir the hamburger meat until all is separated and not lumpy.  You can use your hands or a fork.  Continue to stir and keep the meat separated while the meat browns or it will lump.  When the meat is cooking good, add the seasonings and onions.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Cut off.  Add ketchup and stir together.  Do not cook anymore.   It is ready for the hotdogs!  (I have found that cheap ketchup is the best.)

***

After you enjoy your meal, you can sit back and enjoy a good book.  Finger Bones and Wendy has been enjoyed and read by all ages.  It is written for anyone in the third grade and up.  Here is a summary of the book.

Finger Bones has been sending ghosts to their next destination for years. Now it’s Wendy’s turn.
The Bridgeville Clipper announces Finger Bones is dead at 122-years of age. Wendy is not upset. He will be back. Finger Bones and Wendy have unfinished business in this small town.

When ten-year-old Wendy Dee Winkelmann needs to do some serious thinking she likes to chew bubblegum. While sitting on a bench reading, she becomes friends with an old man the townspeople call, Finger Bones. Some locals consider him odd and spread rumors about the ghastly man who lives up a dirt road in an ramshackle cabin. Yet Wendy soon discovers this old man, who walks to town with a burlap bag tied to a stick, has a special job. He sends ghosts to their next destination, and the stick and burlap bag he carries are magical.

Now Wendy chases the lingering spirits. Soon she finds herself caught up in a devious plan of a dark sinister power, and if it means hurting someone, or worse, it will do whatever is necessary to succeed. It’s all up to Wendy to save Bridgeville before the evil power takes over the town.

***

AVAILABLE IN DECEMBER:

BOOK TWO:  Finger Bones and the Ghost Dog

In this story, we meet a loveable yellow lab named Max.  Max is a ghost dog and has returned to the small town of Bridgeville to help save his previous owners, Ryan and Shelley Dumpsters, before it is too late. He has a quest, and Wendy and the team are in the center of this ghostly adventure.

LINKS:

sarastinson.com

stinsonsara.wordpress.com

The Finger Bones Series on Facebook

Finger Bones and Wendy is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.

Thanks so much Sara for sharing your yummy recipe with us today!

Cover Reveal for PT McHugh!

Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by, I hope all is well with you! I’ve got a cover reveal for PT McHugh! Check it out! This sounds like an awesome story!

BROKENSTONES_final (2)

Reis Slayton is a man without a home, family, or direction until the US military comes along. But the moment he joins, his ‘talents’ come to the attention of those higher than him – he has a sharp eye, and a willingness to shoot first and ask questions later. His deadly skills are finely tuned … and used.

But this isn’t what Reis wanted to be. Years later, after too many undercover operations, and countless lives taken, he finds himself questioning his direction. Does he believe in the government? Does he agree with his assignments? Or is he wasting his life – and conscience – on someone else’s goal?

With that thought in mind, Reis takes a leap and interviews for a new company, where he’s given the role of body guard. Against his better judgment, he takes a job that no one else wants – guarding the daughter of a wealthy family – and grudgingly moves into a new life. Soon after taking a job, he realizes that he might have found the one thing he’s never had: a family, and someone to fight for. He grows to love his new charge, and begins to feel fulfilled for the first time in his life.

But no matter how hard people try, they cannot escape the sins of their past. Will Reis be able to leave the life of an assassin behind him, and protect his new charge? Or will his history come back to haunt him, in the worst ways imaginable?