Category Archives: Books

BB&Y Book Review

Wherever She Goes

by Kelley Armstrong

I thought I had posted this review already, so this one is a bit late to the party.

First, I was OVER THE MOON when I received this advanced copy! I actually won it, I NEVER WIN ANYTHING, in a Good Reads drawing. So freaking exciting! In return they ask you to do a review or to just get the word out. So here goes…

I have been a fan of Kelley’s “Otherworld ” books, just couldn’t put them down and still have these books on my TBR again shelf.

I didn’t bother reading up on this book, I just dove in!

Second, I loved this book! I am not going to lie, I expected this to be “otherworldly ” and it wasn’t. But, I still couldn’t put it down so I wasn’t disappointed at all. This book made me laugh and smile. I was frightened and scared shitless. I rooted for this tough young woman that was trying to do the right thing. Again, I loved this book so much; this special copy goes right on the TBR again shelf with her others. 💘📚

audio excerpt of this book

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Book Review by Eleanor – Fanciest Doll in the Universe

Good Morning! This is the first in a series of book reviews on the book series Fancy Nancy.

These are not paid reviews and are from a very young person’s perspective.

This series is written by Jane O’Connor. Published in 2013.

There is also a TV cartoon series.

*a little about this reviewer: Eleanor is currently 6 months old. I know what you are thinking, but she has a definite opinion about things already.

As for Fancy Nancy, nothing grabs attention like Fancy Nancy. This series is like that of Dora but with the French language mixed in.

Eleanor loves the illustrations, they are colorful and bold. Nancy’s catch phrase is “ooh la la” which always gets a big gummy smile.

The unique thing about these books is how she explains a “fancy” word. For instance, in this story “indelible” is explained like this “She used indelible marker. Indelible means permanent, and permanent means it won’t ever come off. Never, ever.”

So this story starts out with Nancy’s little sister giving her favorite dolly a tattoo on her tummy. Eleanor is frowning at such a thing.

Nancy’s momma introduces the idea of going to a doll gala to cheer her up. Eleanor is drooling at the idea and wonders how fancy is Nancy and mirabelle (that’s the dolls name) are going to dress up?

While at the gala mirabelle gets mistaken for someone else’s doll, Oh the Horror Eleanor exclaims!

The only way Mirabelle is identified is by her tummy tattoo! Could this be a positive to such a harrowing beginning of this story? Eleanor exclaims!!!

In the end Nancy forgives her sister and Eleanor gives this book a big slobbery kiss❣💋

We rate this book 5 out of 5 kissy lips❣

💋 💋 💋 💋 💋

Book Review by Dixie

I Have Lived in the Monster

by Robert Ressler and Tom Shachtman

Published: 1997; 223 pages

This book was written to show case some of the international cases that Robert Ressler became involved in and also includes interviews with Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy as they relate to the international cases.

I can not begin to tell you how disturbingly similar serial murderers and etc are from one country to another. There is a shared mental disturbance that spans language and geographic barriers. Absolutely Mind Boggling! Here is an excerpt from the book (pages 181-2): “I have discussed this case in some detail, and printed the excerpts of the killers confession, to demonstrate how closely allied are the mental patterns of serial killers, no matter what their sociocultural background. Norman Simons cries in acknowledgment of this crimes and his helplessness in the face of “forces” ruling his life are echoes of those I had heard and read from serial killers in the U.S. for many years, and which reflected their psychotic delusions and hallucinations.” There is an even bigger point made If you want to get a real life look at what is plaguing our country and world, please by all means read this book. Also, I just can’t get it out of my mind that the people who deal with this stuff on a regular basis should be considered as a real honest to God hero! They deal with all the gruesome details so that we can all sleep better knowing we don’t have know all the intricate details of what people are actually capable of doing to each other.towards the end of the book, that I am finding reiterated over and over again about the desensitizing of people to these types of situations. (page 213) “These psychological pushes toward interpersonal violence are exacerbated in all of our young people by the way that violence is often portrayed as an accepted part of life, by our news media and fictional representations alike.” Hug your Law Enforcement Officers and Military personnel!

BB&Y Book Review By Dixie

 

Mind Hunter

Mind Hunter
By John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
• Published in 1995
• 384 pages

This book was scary amazing! John Douglas was one of the pioneering Special Agents of the FBI that helped figure out how serial criminals think. He had a 25 year career with the FBI and nearly died from the stress of it.

You know sometimes you read a book and you come across a prolific statement or quote so you underline it, highlight it or as in my case I used a small sticky note; this book has many of these sticking out of it. The first of which is:

“So much of what a law enforcement officer does is difficult to share with anyone, even a spouse. When you spend your days looking at dead and mutilated bodies, particularly when they’re children it’s not the kind of thing you want to bring home with you.”

Mr. Douglas talks about when the FBI was approached about the filming of the movie “Silence of the Lambs” (pg 173) he brought the actor who played the FBI Agent Jack Crawford to his office. The actor Scott Glenn according to Douglas “was a pretty Liberal guy who had strong feeling on rehabilitation, redemption and the fundamental goodness of people.” Douglas showed him the “gruesome case file pictures of cases they dealt with on a daily basis. He even let him “listen to recordings made by killers while there were torturing their victims”, Mr. Glenn cried and said “I had no idea there were people out there who could do anything like this.” I had to ask myself, what did this do to him and his family because he was so driven to figure out these very scary people so they didn’t hurt anyone else?

“But I always tell my classes, if you want to understand Picasso, you have to study his art. If you want to understand the criminal personality, you have to study his crime.”

Most Law Enforcement officers have to learn how to deal with what they see on the job and they sometimes “come off as a cool, aloof son of a bitch” Douglas says. He goes on to say that he and his wife ended up with a different set of friends and he couldn’t talk with any of them about his job. He often became bored in her circle of friends because of the seriousness of what he dealt with any of their concerns where trivial.

This is real world stuff my friends…He says that the “only way crime is going to go down is if all of us simply stop accepting and tolerating it in our families, our friends and our associates. Crime is a moral problem. It can only be resolved on a moral level.”…and I think he hits the nail on the head.

Open your eyes my friends, this is not an exaggeration…

BB&Y Book Review: By Dixie

BB&Y Book Review By Dixie

BB&Y Book Review: By Dixie

BB&Y Book Review By Dixie

Gloria, A Lifetime Motorcyclist

By Gloria Tramontin Strick

• Published in 2018

• 256 pages

Synopsis:

At the age of 92, Gloria Struck becomes an author to tell her story. A story that includes a detailed family history as well as her many journeys on a motorcycle.

My thoughts:

What an absolute amazing tough Lady! This book is full of lots of family history and how her family came to the United States. She goes into great detail on how she started riding a motorcycle and the many many places she has ridden; including Europe. I would highly recommend you read this book and if you would like to have a conversation about it please let me know, because I would definitely like to be in on that. I hope I get to meet Gloria one day, what a serious inspiration.

gloria struck
Gloria and her daughter Lori

Gloria says “I never worried, I always acted like a lady and I was always treated like one.”, when talking about traveling by herself. Now isn’t that refreshing? Here is a lady who likes to ride a motorcycle (a male dominated sport) who doesn’t feel the need to show how tough she is. Who I might add exudes confidence and doesn’t need to explain herself to anyone. Now don’t peg me for a diehard feminist because I am no such thing. I am just saying there is no posturing here, she is who she is!

gloria motor maid
Gloria is a lifetime member of the Motor Maids motorcycle club

  “It’s never too late to live your dreams”

Last Adventure of 2018

Well I’ve found another fun thing to do, can you imagine? If you’ve read my last post about Rose from “Titanic” you’ll understand that I have many interests.

So I’ve been a big fan of Ansel Adams, who is a famous photographer and for Christmas i received a pretty fancy camera. Pictures to follow…

But first, this is the first installment of this adventure which started early the friday morning after Christmas. We headed to the airport a bit later than origannally planned. We ended up taking a tour of long term parking (The Hubs was driving) only to end up in short term parking. 😁 Then we took the new tram from the parking area which took us to the right place. But we needed to check our bags which meant we needed to go down stairs (anxiety is starting to mount, we are not late but…), there was a Disney sized conga line so we hightailed it outside to curb service to check our bags. Of course this is where we realized we should have dropped our bags first lol before taking the tour of the airport parking areas. Lol so, we made it to our gate after getting gropped…flight takes off at 6am then we had a little layover and made our final destination by 1pm.

So we are in Western Michigan and there is snow on the ground. Suddenly i am a kid again, i havent seen snow since 1980…so we headed to a craftbrewery for some libations.  Now if you’ve followed my Harley Vacay posts you know this is the usual for us, but this is the first time we’ve come in winter. I am loving it! Even though this girl has about 8 layers on, which isnt fun when you have a hot flash! Let me tell you, having a hot flash while wearing this many layers gives you a real honest to God incite on a Turkey in a basting bag at Thanksgiving! 🤣🤣🤣

In a 3 day period i have taken over 500 pictures with my new camera and i am in Love with the Night Vision setting. Please let me know what you think, heck maybe you have some suggestions….I have a crochet project to work on now.

I hope you all have had a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to come❣

What does it mean to me?

Morning everyone! So i read a post that has been stuck in my brain for a few days.  It askes “what is your blog really about?” And “How much time did you spend on you About page?” (Here is the original post: https://wp.me/p5oeKw-4c )

So, i went back and read my “About” page. I think i did a pretty good job explaining why i started this blog and my interrests. But I’d like to add this visual, if you will.

Have you seen the “Titanic” movie? If so, you’ll know what i mean when i say, Rose and Jack inspired me. You see, in the movie Jack encourages Rose to “Do” all those things she is curious about. In the begining of the movie Rose is 100+ years old and the story is told by her. What i noticed was she DID all those things she and Jack talked about.

So back to this blog.  Of course i want this blog to be successful and if you read up on how to do that, most advice says to pick one subject. I tried that, but in short i just didnt like that.  I have many interrests, like Rose, and i want to talk about all of them. I did identify a particular interrest that not much is written about but that doesn’t get many readers. 

So what I’ve learned thus far is the common denominator in all my interrests is Me. My passion, experiences and thoughts. I love Books, riding my motorcycle, crocheting, our grandchildren, shopping and a host of other things.

I am totally open to suggestions and would love to hear your thoughts. 

BB&Y Book Review: By Dixie

Soul Rider
By Carolyn Fox

• Published in 2017
• This story took place in 1994
• 265 pages

Synopsis:
A story of a woman who went on a life-changing journey. Carolyn Fox was a single mother and lawyer haunted with grief and secretes and facing her fiftieth birthday. So she decided to changer her life by facing her fears: she bought a Harley, packed it with a sleeping bag and tent, and set out to ride through all fifty states alone!

“Facing fear and finding redemption on a Harley”

My thoughts:
So I thought I would approach this book differently by giving you my thoughts on each chapter. So this is an experiment and I will need your input on whether you find this helpful. Also, this book in particular speaks to me because I ride and have ridden across country albeit not alone.

Prologue: “Haunting Cries” – Luckily I read the authors note – she talks about her publishing journey and how she was ready to print but still thought the book was missing something so she had a literature service take a look and sure enough there was a suggestion to include her struggle dealing with a child she lost. So when I started reading the Prologue I thought “Do I really want to read this?” But I am a firm believer that our dreams are trying to tell us something and here she’s riding her motor cycle and reflecting on a reoccurring dream about open doors and crying presumably by a baby and guilt. It’s a short passage and I am still thinking “do I want to read this?” But I press on.

Chapter 1 – Dancing with the Wind – She’s on the open highway and a big truck is rolling past her. I know from experience this is nerve wracking and it’s this feeling that draws me in further to this story. I can feel the wet wind on my face as well as getting pelted by the road debris kicked up by the bigger vehicles. Now I am a bit awestruck because I realize she is by herself on this journey and I think “what a brave sister!” As the chapter title suggests dancing with the wind on a motorcycle is a not only nerve wracking but exciting. She found out you have to work with it not against it, it’s a control thing. Most of us have learned there isn’t much you can control and the wind blowing around an 800lb motorcycle definitely isn’t one of them. That’s the glory in riding, you find the happy place or you learn to cooperate and enjoy the ride. Now you learn she is loaded with camping gear and is sponsored by the KOA to make this trip. Although I love to ride, usually with my man leading the pack and the solitude that come with driving my own bike and riding my own ride, I can tell you now I would never do a ride such as this by myself and especially not in a tent! Now I am definitely hooked and want to read more.

Chapter 2 – Chasing elusive love – Who really trusts their GPS fully? Ha ha ha I think Ms. Fox and I could be friends! On to her next stop and she “smokes” right by the GPS turn because that didn’t look right, so an hour later she had to turn around and retrace her route. See this is why I love following me hubs; I just don’t have a good sense of direction. She moved on to relationships between men and women. She points out that women can be “hint based” conversationalists where men are the “Joe Fridays” of the world, Speak it Sister! Why don’t men see that the last thing we want to be is needy or imposing? She says “this deprives men of being chivalrous” I do love me some chivalry! She starts thinking about a previous time she went on a trip with her boyfriend and nothing can test a relationship like a road trip.

Chapter 3 – The Lone Archer – This chapter starts out with anxiety on the reader’s part, as she ventures into Yosemite national park. While she manages to survive her trip through Yosemite she overhears a man ranting about his son cutting his hair in a non-traditional way and she offers some words of encouragement. Which did not have the intended effect, but she mounts up and continues her journey. So far I like this book and author but I am very concerned for her and her lack of concentration while driving her motorcycle across country.

Chapter 4 – Ancient sentries beckoning – Lord! Now she is driving through Death Valley! Word to the wise, don’t dally when it’s hot. I can appreciate the scenery however, if you are not used to riding in heat and humidity you will or can have a heat related episode. We live in Florida so we take steps to be safe and sometimes that means you just don’t ride during the day. Who in their right mind would hike down a 1,000 foot rock formation in full biker gear complete with boots and back pack? I fear for her and just can’t stop reading. This woman has balls of steal and just doesn’t realize it!

Chapter 5 – A Death in the Family – Yikes this chapter is absolutely heart breaking. But sometimes you just need to get it all out. This trip for the author is turning out to be cleansing in so many ways.

Chapter 6 – Collecting Passengers – Vanity and being a biker chick just don’t go together. This lady surprises me with each chapter…still reading. As Ms. Fox is recuperating from a cold she meets a young woman at the camp ground who has MS. The woman used to ride but is unable to now because of her MS but she asks her to “take her with her” figuratively. This absolutely melts my heart. But it also reminds me that we carry our people with us always, not sure that’s just a mom thing but for the sake of this book and this journey that’s what I am channeling right now.

Chapter 7 – mothers worst nightmare, the biker – Ms. Fox tells her story of her maiden motorcycle ride, albeit short, and this has me remembering my first driving experience. Well it was more like an episode of Benny Hill. Ha ha ha She says after all the aggravation of teaching herself to ride, they finally got another car and she knew she’d never be on 2 wheels again…fast forward 20 years and here we are.

Chapter 8 – The woman in the mist – Asking the universe for guidance can be enlightening if you pay attention. But you “have to ask” and be open to getting an answer you may not agree with or understand fully.

Chapter 9 – A gun or an attitude – I am seeing her evolve as a rider here, showing more caution. She is riding some good “hills” by the sound of it. Hmm, might have to put Kansas on our radar. She been on the road “only a couple weeks” and has started to settle down as she is driving through Oklahoma. She reflects on a few instances that made her uncomfortable. Although she is armed, she is approached by a few sketchy people that she gets weird vibes from; luckily she trusts her gut and gets the hell outta there. But this brings up a valid concern for anyone that is traveling alone. Keeping yourself safe is something you have to actively must do and the best thing and the first thing “I think” you should do is removed yourself from the situation Quick, fast and in a Hurry!

Chapter 10 – The Burned man – (A Very Prolific Chapter) – As the latest “jerk” moves on she talks about how the American people have been duped by the news outlets (by their scare tactics) that the only thing going on in our world is nothing but negative and hateful. But by traveling rural roads she discovers that the majority of people are great, helpful and hardworking. A hand up means more than a handout! She really hits that nail on the head in this chapter about how riding a motorcycle “incites the senses and demands” that you participate in life. I have said this repeatedly, that motorcycle riding requires you to put all that stuff you have rolling around your head aside, in order to be safe and the benefit is incredibly cleansing to your soul.

Quote pg 111 “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain” by Emerson

Chapter 11 – Reality Check – One of the main worries she hopes to find an answer to is her fear of being alone. She is about to be 50 years old and she thinks she has to have an answer to what bugs her. She is a busy person with so much on her mind. So to her I would say at this point you’ve just got to stop carrying all this crap on your back. Put it down and walk away from it. Deal with what is in front of you because that’s all you can do.

Chapter 12 – Taming the Heinous Beast – Well the title of this chapter had me very curious; she tells her story of taking the motorcycle driver course. Holy smokes! You’ll really want to read this one. Now of course this has me thinking of when I took this class. A few days before my class, my hubs wanted to show me a few things and let me take it for a spin. Well in short I did a Benny Hill impression in the middle of my street which in short means I fell over!

Chapter 13 – Deaths Premonition – Riding in bad weather is never a good idea, but sometimes it’s unavoidable and you just have to “suck it up buttercup”! She’s been on the road for 18 days at this point and has experienced just about every danger possible. She is just realizing that she needs to think differently and be more alert. Also, I am just realizing that in 1994 when this trip took place, you just couldn’t map quest your route. So bless her heart she’s doing it “real” old school with a real honest to God map!

Chapter 14 – A conversation of substance – Well she’s made it to my neck of the woods in Florida. Let me remind you she started out in Oregon. A friend try’s to be match maker and although they are a good verbal match he isn’t the one. But she did get to swim with manatees.

Chapter 15 – “Do the Thing you fear” – Turning 50! Reflections…my dad always said when you ert in your 30s you will begin to philosophize about your life. When you turn 50 you really begin to take a look at the trajectory of your life. Where did you start or what did you want to do with yourself versus where did you end up? But the cool things about looking at your life, you can really appreciate the journey. Oh the possibilities are endless.

Chapter 16 – 50 and alone – Although life can beat you up and leave lots of scars, I learned you really have to find the optimism. Life can always be worse; someone always has it worse than you. I leaned you absolutely cannot keep carrying all that shit on your back.

Chapter 17 – People are like Frogs – As much as I hate to admit it, people are like frogs (Note: I am not a fan of Frogs) we go through many changes, physically and mentally and you just can’t rush that process.

Chapter 18 – Elizabeth – Forgiveness & Redemption – This chapter is so heart wrenching. When a person is so deeply hurt and cannot forgive themselves for circumstances that are just beyond your capacity at the time, it’s just gut twisting awful. But this is what this whole journey is for, it’s liberating and cleansing. It’s not that you can forget the circumstances or feelings but you can move on. Use this whole experience as a stepping stone to get out of the hole you’ve wallowed in for so long.

Chapter 19 – The Predator – The trials of traveling alone brought her to the attention of a very seedy character. This reminds me of a saying “if you look like a victim you will be a victim”. This chapter had me on the edge of my seat.

Chapter 20 – Cousin Shirley’s old dog – Lord, if you think chapter 18 was tough on your feels, get a box of tissues for this one. The situations are totally different but…this one took aim at my heart and hit its mark.

Chapter 21 – Breaking Free – This whole trip she has been worrying herself sick about being alone. Her boys are living their life, her BF broke up with her while she was on this trip and to make matters worse she sent all her warm clothes and extra jacket back to Oregon. Now she’s in the UP of Michigan and headed to Minnesota! Yikes, I tell you I have never met someone so hell bent on doing things the hard way!

Chapter 22 – Winds of Change – Dear me she drove off into a damn storm again! But she swears she won’t do it again. She found this quote at Mount Rushmore by Theodore Roosevelt “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.…Here she goes again!

Chapter 23 – Deadly storm on the high plains – Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ on a cracker!!! Holy Hell, that was the scariest yet! I doubt anyone can really know how bad a storm is on a bike unless you have been there. I personally have been there and it’s utterly frightening. You reason with yourself, remind yourself to breathe and to just survive. It is exhausting.

Chapter 24 – My Solitary Shadow – Boy isn’t that the truth “…it is important to remember my roots. I believe it is the mixture of our past and present experiences that makes us who we are today.” (pg 260) You have to come to terms with being comfortable in your own skin.

Epilogue – Turning 50, you can make it a happy occasion or a depressing one. Ms. Fox turned it into a happy one because she was able to resolve issues that she needed to come to terms with.

 

BB&Y Book Review: By Dixie

The Shack

The Shack

By Wm. Paul Young

• Published in 2007

• 248 pages

 

 

Synopsis:
     Mack’s daughter Missy was kidnapped and killed; they never found her body. This story is told from Mack’s perspective and deals with “The great sadness” as he calls it. Almost 4 years goes by and he gets a strange note that draws him back to the place they think Missy was killed. The note was signed by “Papa” which is a nick name his wife uses for God. He makes the trip and in a weekend, he learns a lot about himself and God.

 “Mackenzie, it’s been a while. I’ve missed you. I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. – Papa”

My thoughts:
     I read a review that totally blasted the author because they thought this book was to preachy. First, you need to know this is a work of fiction NOT non-fiction. I certainly don’t think it was preachy, however some of the conversations between Mack and God did go in circles and got a bit confusing. But I could follow the meaning and context of the conversation because I saw the movie before I read the book. Of course, the book gives you more details.

     Overall, I think this is a terrific book and I would recommend it.
At the back of the book you see information about “The Missy Project” which come to find out has nothing to do with the book. The author encourages readers to buy and share the book to help “The Missy Project”, going back to the review I read; this nugget totally incensed this reviewer which I really don’t understand. I hope you get a chance to read the story; I’d love to hear your thoughts.