Category Archives: Non-fiction

Book Review: ‘When Science Collapses’ by Christopher Hivner

Title: When Science Collapses

Published: 31st December 2016

Author: Christopher Hivner

 

Blurb:

Find another layer, go deeper to before I knew you, to thoughts I had as a young man, pull up those bones, crush them between your teeth to bathe in the marrow, find out what you think made me the way I am. “Paleontology”

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book of poems.

Here you have a collection of poems with a difference. Almost using metaphors for science theories looking into the subjects of different human relationships. They are all told through the lens of science, looking into different scientific disciplines – e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, and so on. Each looking at different aspects of relationships from start to end within the scientific concepts created.

I liked some more than others and felt the scientific aspects of the poems gave them a different vibe. There were 33 in total, though a few were extended parts off one main title.

Here are a few that stood out for me:

Physics – wanting to relive and hold on to memories of loved ones passed on. Here you have someone wishing they could have them back but knowing that their memories of them are what you have to hold onto most. Don’t live in the past but hold onto its memories.

‘Time travel
is an illusion,
but my memories,
few as they are,
are real.’

String Theory – connecting things together and wondering why it can’t always be like this. The world and all its infinite moments being linked together one onto the next.

Astronomy – the vastness of space and looking at our way of interpreting what we can see or explain. How feeling connected to someone could seem like you are a planet warmed by their sun. Circling and needing each other, not knowing how long it would last but holding onto memories created all the same.

Combustion – from reading you get an idea of an engine just about to blow. One part isn’t right so the function isn’t working. In relation to a relationship it looks into cheating, or the possibility of someone cheating, and how just that one thought could make everything blow up.

It’s an interesting idea to take on human relationships in poems with a scientific vibe. You are breaking down concepts within the poems figuring out what they could mean for both subject types. If you like science and poetry then why not take a look.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Poetry, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Review: ‘3 Hour Dad’ by Adam T Hourlution

Title: 3 Hour Dad: Reading is Believing

Published: June 2018

Author: Adam T Hourlution

 

Blurb:

What would you do if you were suddenly told you were going to be a mum or dad without any notice? How would you react? What thoughts would go through your head? You haven’t prepared to be a parent, you’ve not made any arrangements and nobody in your family is aware.

Now imagine that not even the mum-to-be knew that she had been hiding a little person inside her tummy the entire time.

One day Adam, just your average, typical guy receives a call from his mother-in-law (to be!) summoning him to the hospital following his girlfriend being rushed in with suspected appendicitis only to discover that she is in fact having contractions and has been admitted to the labour ward.

This heart-warming and true story invites readers to step into Adam’s shoes and experience what it is like to be a 3 Hour Dad.

A proportion of sales is donated to a random act of kindness fund. To read more about this please refer to the about me section at the end of the book and help join in the 3hourlution.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A memoir.

Planning for becoming a father is something you usually have a bit of time to get your head around, so 3 hours is pushing it!

Talk about your life changing in the space of a moment. Adam was just having a chilled night in while his girlfriend Lyndsay was at her mums. Pizza, TV catch up and trying to secure the last figurine in his Star Wars collection. Good evening all round, right up to the shock phone call at midnight from his soon to be mother-in-law to say Lyndsay was at the hospital about to give birth in the delivery ward. Talk about getting a shock. Trying to put on clothes and drive to the hospital are challenges number 1 and 2. Challenge number 3 is on its way soon.

Interesting to see things from the guys perspective and how they were all trying to wrap their heads around what was happening. Shock of labour is one thing, then comes the realisation that you are now a family with a new baby that you have nothing for. Crazy shopping spree needed stat!

They do say that it can happen. A hidden pregnancy you only find out about when the little bundle decides to make an appearance. Thought is was a bit funny he called the baby his UCO – unidentified crying object – time to pick out a name.

Witty read that brings to life the situation they all found themselves in – shocked faces all round. You can plan all you like but sometimes things happen all at once, and in this case, in the space of 3 hours. I wonder if the next one will make such a dramatic entrance?

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Romantic Comedy / Humour

Book Review: ‘The Long Body That Connects Us All’ by Rich Marcello

Title: The Long Body That Connects Us All

Published: 28th February 2018

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

Author: Rich Marcello

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rich.marcello.3

Twitter: @marcellor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rich.marcello

 

Blurb:

Provocative and profound, Rich Marcello’s poems are compact but expansive, filled with music as seductive as their ideas, and focused mostly on how to be a good man. This is a collection of deep passion and wisdom for fathers, husbands, and sons, but also for mothers, wives, and daughters, many who began with a longing for the things they were taught to desire by their forefathers, only to later discover a different path, one lit by loss and welcoming of the vulnerable, one made of the long body that connects us all.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book under 100 pages. This book is split into 3 parts with around 16 poems per section. So you can dip in and out when the need strikes or plow through in one go.

I find it kind of calming to read some forms of poetry. Letting your mind flow in different directions as you make your own interpretations of what you think they could mean.

There were lots of poems to choose from but here are a few of my favorites from each section of the book and my interpretations on what I thought they were about.

 

Part 1 – In the Coming:

I Do Now – Exploring the light and dark that people can hold and accepting someone’s shadow as much as their light.

Porchwork – About reliving a memory and place in time so much that you want to recreate it forever in other ways so you can hold dear.

Daughters and Sons – About embracing each other, the love we share and how to send it out into the world to heal it and others.

 

Part 2 – Yab Yum:

How We Struggle to Pass Down – Feeling the need to tell those younger than yourself to remember the feelings and dreams they have as they come. To not live with regrets when they get older but in the end learning that all must go through lessons and learn things at their own pace. As you remember you were once that young who thought you knew best.

Stillness – Finding some place still and calm to reboot and recharge in a way so you can find your center and balance to start again.

The Return of Hippies – Remembering a time where everything and everyone was carefree. To go back to a forgotten time where sun, hope, rainbows and love played their parts. Showing a world of possibilities to remember and to push forward with love and kindness.

 

Part 3 – Aether:

Belong to No One – Finding your center and learning to belong to yourself and no other. Feeling happy with who you are and how you see the world and your life around you.

How to Be a Good Man – About embracing new ways to think and act when troubles come your way. If you want to walk away, step closer. Hate then love. To find ways to see things differently and learning to forgive if needed.

The Long Body – Finding ways to see how things and people are connected. Letting love, kindness and memories guide you forward to help with any challenges ahead. As the title suggests it’s about the long body of life that connects us all.

 

Interesting collection of poems that make you stop and think. Some I liked more than others but all intriguing in their own way. It’s a good book to go to as a stopgap book between heavier ones. A break book so to speak that won’t take long to get through. Worth checking out for anyone interested in poetry.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Poetry, Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Review: ‘Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir’ by Michael Anthony

Title: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

Published: 27th December 2016

Publisher: Pulp

Author: Michael Anthony

 

Synopsis:

After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home – or at least back on US soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two months later, Michael was stoned on Vicodin, drinking way too much, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. At his wit’s end, he came to an agreement with himself: If things didn’t improve in three months, he was going to kill himself. Civilianized is a memoir chronicling Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.

 

Review:

Review might be late but this still goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A memoir. A biography memoir bringing to life what can happen when you get back home after war. You might physically be back but mentally and emotionally are two other matters entirely.

Michael was clearly struggling, like so many I’m sure, and this seems to be an almost therapeutic way of putting everything out there for people to see. The darker side of how people cope (or don’t cope) with when they get back. Drinking, smoking, drugs, sex, everything to the excess. It seems to be a way to drown out memories or feelings so you can just get through the day.

There was an interesting mix of people throughout that Michael met along the way in the first three months after getting back. The dating guru of sorts was funny in his methods, along with the others from the class. Finally going to PTSD and drug addiction meetings was a step in the right direction but maybe not the right kind of meeting with the other people that were there. With the meetings anyway you have to want to be there to see any benefit or else you are just going through the motions and not getting anything back from it.

I feel the abrupt ending worked well because in life nothing is tied up with a happy big bow on it to finish things off. This isn’t the end anyway but more like a true beginning. With fiction you can create the ending you want. With fact it’s real life and nothing in life that’s worth having is easy.

I did feel at times that the timeline jumped around a little. It’s only taking place within three months to begin with but at points days seemed to jump around. There was a good pace throughout though and it does keep you hooked to see how everything plays out.

The struggles shown throughout are hard at times to read but real in a way to show you what can really happen. But also that there is help out there to help you try and find a way back to the other side. Dark and gritty too but that’s needed to show the true perils of dealing with PTSD, depression and addiction. An interesting read all the same though that is worth checking out.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Lance: A Spirit Unbroken’ by Walter Stoffel

About the Book:

Marley meets…Cujo?

A dog down the block is being forced to live outside, at the mercy of abusers, wild animals and brutal weather. The author does nothing—at first. Then, an accidental meeting with Lance, a Border Collie, sets the wheels in motion for a life-saving rescue and a disappointing discovery: Lance turns out to be a semi-feral dog.

During the first twenty-four hours of his liberation, he attacks both the author and his wife, and soon proves to be a threat to anyone he can get his teeth on. His rescuers ask themselves: Do we euthanize the dog we rescued? Making their soul-searching even more difficult is Lance’s alter ego; when not threatening, he’s getting into all kinds of highly entertaining mischief. Among the many “victims” of his hilarious quirkiness are a State Trooper, the local school bus driver, and a neighborhood drug dealer.

This rollicking and—at times—heart-wrenching, true-life account of the unorthodox rescue of an unorthodox dog has been called “riveting,” “spellbinding,” and ”jaw-dropping.” The compelling tale reveals as much about the rescuers as it does the rescued.

Lance: A Spirit Unbroken is a book for any reader looking to have her or his faith in the human race restored.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a GED teacher and drug and alcohol counselor in local correctional facilities. Over the years I’ve started and stopped numerous creative writing projects. I completed Lance: A Spirit Unbroken because I was determined to break through a lifelong wall of procrastination, self-doubt, and, frankly, laziness.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Don’t tell my boss, but I often use time during my day job to write. I carry a pen and paper everywhere I go just to be prepared should I have a creative moment. If I’m a passenger in a car, I’m definitely writing.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Well, Lance’s story was handed to me on a silver platter. I’m currently about 70,000 words into the story of a young boy growing up on Long Island in the 50s and 60s. This will be presented as fiction although it is rooted in fact. I’m also hoping to write a military man’s memoir concerning a dog rescue that took place in Iraq. I have lots of trepidation about the complexities of writing about someone else’s experience, but the story itself is so good I don’t want to miss this opportunity. If I find the time, I think I have another real-life story about a child abused by the system. So it seems that my “brand” is speaking for the downtrodden.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

With nonfiction, the story is presented to me. My challenge is to write it in a skillful and entertaining manner. The fictional account of a young boy growing up on Long Island that I mentioned is based on facts but there’s plenty of embellishing. I tend to write in a vignette style meaning that many of the chapters could stand alone as short stories. I picture the scene that I am writing about and when I sense the opportunity to create something to heighten the drama, I do it.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My one published book is a memoir, I hope to soon write two more memoirs, but the Long Island story is a fictional novel.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

If Lance: A Spirit Unbroken were to be made into a movie, whatever actors made up the cast would be a dream cast for me. Several readers have told me they feel Lance’s story is a natural for the big screen because of his antics. We’ll see.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I have been primarily a nonfiction reader all my life. Everyone else in my critiquing group writes fiction and they are constantly commenting on the latest nonfiction book they’re reading. Over the past two years, I have dedicated myself to reading fiction on a regular basis primarily because I feel the stylish writing of fictional authors can help me write both more compelling fiction—and nonfiction.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m reading The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle and The Davinci Code by Dan Brown.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I don’t have a single favorite book, just as I don’t have a single favorite piece of music by Mozart. Recently I read The Hit, a book by David Baldacci. The story didn’t grab me but I liked Baldacci’s style. At the same time, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, which I read decades ago and was written two centuries ago, still resonates because of the quality of the characters in the story. These days I read anything I can get my hands, or ears, on.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

That’s an easy question to answer. Stop thinking and start writing. My only regret is that I didn’t get off my duff sooner. Just put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. The next most important thing would be to put your ego on the shelf and join a critiquing group. Lance: A Spirit Unbroken would not be the book it is had I never joined a critiquing group.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can go to www.lanceaspiritunbroken.com to read Chapter 1 for free.

Lance also has a page on Facebook (Lance: A Spirit Unbroken) and a Twitter account (@lanceunbroken).

About the Author:

Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch really bad movies. Major accomplishment: He entered a 26.2 mile marathon race following hip replacement surgery and finished–dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog, Buddy (another rescue) and cat, Winky (yet another rescue)

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Filed under Author Interview, Non-fiction, Reading Nook Blog Posts