Monday, June 27, 2016

Music Monday - "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush (1978)

"Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush was released in 1978.  It appeared on her album The Kick Inside.  Kate Bush was inspired to write this song after seeing the BBC miniseries of Wuthering Heights.  She has said that the last 10 minutes of that program inspired this song.  "Wuthering Heights" was written at a single sitting.

I didn't discover this song until my college years, the 1980's.  I was an English: Creative Writing major, so of course I loved the swooping romanticism of this song, and the references to Wuthering Heights.  The lyrics include:

"Bad dreams in the night.
They told me I was going to lose the fight,
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights.
 

 Heathcliff, it's me--Cathy.
Come home. I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window.


Heathcliff, it's me--Cathy.
Come home. I'm so cold!
Let me in-a-your window."


Here's a little trivia tidbit:  Kate Bush and Emily Bronte share the same birthday, July 30.

And now, the video for your enjoyment -- the interpretive dancing is a bit dated but the song is still beautiful!



Do you remember this song?  What is your favorite song based on literature?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Book Review - The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron

Book Synopsis:
An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become. 

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

My Review:
I was intrigued by this book from the moment I first heard of it.  I love 1920's settings and knew nothing about circus life during this period, so I was eager to read The Ringmaster's Wife.

The Ringmaster's Wife intertwines the story of two women:  Mable, who meets John Ringling at the Chicago World's Fair, and Rosamund, who leaves England looking for a new life - which she finds in the circus.  The story moves back and forth.  I often read books in short snatches of time due to schedule, and found the back and forth narrative a little hard to settle in to initially, but once I did I was reluctant to put the book down!

I especially enjoyed the characters of Rosamund and Colin and their relationship.  The characters in this novel are so well developed, with dialogue and description that moves the novel along. 

The historical details in this book are rich and fascinasting.   The setting of this book is one of the most interesting that I have encountered in the past couple of years. 

I loved reading this book, and recommend it highly for fans of historical fiction, especially with a unique and atmospheric setting.   
Author Bio:
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015. Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dear Abby - Meet Cadbury and Woodbury (A Rescued Pet Spotlight)

Dear friends,

I hope you are having a good week and staying cool.  It is very hot in the deep south right now!   I am enjoying indoor time with air conditioning and fans.

I have a guest post from two special friends today.  Cadbury and Woodbury are two beautiful bunny rabbits, and they wrote this interview a couple of months ago.  You met their kitty sister, Scotty, here before.   I have had this interview scheduled.  I was so sad to hear that Cadbury passed away in late May.  With permission of Cadbury and Woodbury's mother, Beth, I am running this interview in special memory of Cadbury.  

Abby:  What is your background and how did you end up in rescue?

Cadbury: Hello, Abby! I'm a girl rabbit, and I don't know how old I am. I don't remember much about before, and I know I lived with humans a long time ago, but about five or six years ago, I was suddenly outside all by myself. At first it was fun to run around all over the grass, but then it got scary and lonely and hard to find good food.

Then a young girl and her brother found me where they waited for their school bus. Their parents put up flyers to see if someone would claim me, but no one did. They couldn't keep me permanently because they were moving, but they spread the word that I needed a home. Then one day, my new humans came to pick me up! Mother named me Cadbury because I looked like a chocolate bunny! She thinks I might be something called a Holland Lop.   (Photo of Cadbury below)


Woodbury: I'm a boy bunny, and unsure of my age, too. All I know is that a few years ago, I was let out into a neighborhood, and it was awful. I was scared of all the noise and big things whizzing by me. It was dark and rainy, and I was all covered in mud, when a tall boy came by on his run and spotted me. He brought me home to his mom (also human), and they cleaned me up and gave me carrots! Like Cad's rescuers, they were moving and couldn't keep me - but the mom, Diane, knew a friend who really likes bunnies. (Photo of Woodbury below)


Cadbury: I heard Mother say, "What's one more bunny in the house?"

Abby:  How were your first days at your new home?

Cadbury:  It wasn't too bad when I got to the new people's house. They put my little hutch on a big wooden table right where everyone would walk by and talk to me. One thing made me nervous - these strange creatures (I learned they're cats) would sit on the table and just stare at me. I didn't care for it. However, I tried stamping my back feet, and it was great! When I did that, they all jumped about a foot in the air and ran away. Ha ha! Now, sometimes I'll sneak out of my cage at night to explore the house (Mother frowns on this). The cats watch me from a distance. They're afraid of my feet!

Woodbury: Everything was pretty nice when I got here. Especially because Mom and Dad knew to give me lots of carrots and parsley! Mom says I'm "mellow" which I'm pretty sure means "handsome."

Cadbury: At first, Mother would take me to church for Easter, and to the church booth at a local Scottish festival, too. I got tired of the limelight, though, and started to get nervous around lots of kids and big people. Luckily, Woodbury came along at the right time to do public appearances. He doesn't seem to mind.

Abby:  What are a few of your favorite things?

Woodbury: Carrots!

Cadbury: I like when Dad holds me on his lap. I like secretly exploring, and I love little soft toys to play with and sleep on. My favorite thing to eat is this cranberry cookie treat that our human friend Tom brings us.

Woodbury: Would it surprise you, Abby, to learn that I love carrots? I also enjoy a big wooden toy that's fun to chew - and it is great to throw against my dish to alert Mom that I feel hungry!

Abby:  Do you have any tips for people who want to adopt a rescue pet?

Cadbury and Woodbury: Our advice is - don't put bunnies in Easter baskets! All bunnies need lots of love and care, because we don't get along so great on our own. We may not look like it in our photos, but we're both pretty small, so we need some protection and help. All rabbits, no matter what size, should be chosen to be a part of the family for always - not just a holiday!

Special thanks to Beth for helping with this interview.  I am so sorry about Cadbury's passing.  She had a wonderful home with your family.   Please give Woodbury a gentle pet for me!  (Please tell him that I am very gentle with bunnies, although I am a dog.)

Dear friends, if you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!   Thank you for visiting today.

Love,

Abby xoxoxo
 

Book Review and Giveaway - Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Book Synopsis
USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces a sizzling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in Manhattan.

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?
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My Review 
Sleepless in Manhattan focuses on friends Paige, Frankie, and Eva, who unexpectedly lose their event planning jobs in New York.  Paige decides to start her own company, with the help of her longtime friend (and crush!) Jake.   

I really enjoyed the upbeat, feel good nature of this book.  I especially liked the way the author balances the love story between Paige and Jake and the story of the three friends.  The New York setting was a nice bonus!

Paige is a likable protagonist who has overcome much with her serious health problems from childhood.  Jake is brooding and intriguing.  Their interaction was fun to read, especially as sparks flew.

The characters are varied and well written, and the dialogue is fast paced and fun to read.   This is my first read by Sarah Morgan;  she tells a really good story!

This would be a great weekend read or a fun beach read.  I enjoyed Sleepless in Manhattan, and think that other fans of chick lit or contemporary romance will as well.   


Author Bio
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as ‘a magician with words’ and nominated her books for their Reviewer’s Choice Awards and their ‘Top Pick’ slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family. 

Connect with Sarah  

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

 

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Sleepless in Manhattan.  Giveaway ends 6/30 and is open to U.S. and Canada.  The winner will receive an email, and needs to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed to winner by the author or her publicist.
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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Did You Know Tuesday - Otter Pops

It's the first week of Summer! Yay! I love the slow, leisurely pace of the Summer months. I will confess to a love of frozen fruit flavored treats, too. 

Last week I saw a reference to Otter Pops online and it took me back to my childhood. I loved Otter Pops and the similar Fla-Vor-Ice pops. 

Otter Pops were originally marketed in 1970 by National Pax. They are still made and sold today (I saw a huge box at Wal-Mart last week and it took all my will power not to buy!) These pops have 40 calories and come in flavors including: 

Alexander the Grape 
Sir Isaac Lime 
Little Orphan Orange 
Rip Van Lemon 
Louie-Bloo Raspberry 
Poncho Punch 
Strawberry Short Kook 

In 1995 the company tried to replace Sir Isaac Lime with Scarlett O'Cherry, but a well organized protest by fourth graders stopped this change. (Too bad -- the cherry frozen fruit pops sound delicious!) 

Do you remember Otter Pops or Fla-Vor-Ice from your childhood? Are you still a fan of these frozen treats? They are part of summer nostalgia for me, and always fun (and delicious!). I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.