book review

Giants in the Sky – Otto and Elise Hampel

Greetings Viewers!

After that tiny bit of a break last month I’m back with more book learning for you! Huzzah, you say! Huzzah!

Well…perhaps not. At any rate I *did* read Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada during my cruise and I was deeply moved by the experience. I couldn’t resist sharing my newfound knowledge with you all and felt that, as April 8th was the Anniversary of the Hampels’ executions, this month’s video would be the best time to do so.

As many people are celebrating Easter this weekend I urge you-Christian or not-to be kind to your fellow humans, now and always.

XXOO Kristy

The Book Report: The Mountain Shadow

Greetings Viewers! And Happy New Year!

As promised we are back on schedule. Mostly. Things got a little out of hand this morning with my nephew and I have to admit that the upload went right out of my mind until I went to write down a reminder to do something TOTALLY UNRELATED in my planner and then saw that it was upload day and then WHOOSH I flew to my computer to post this.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A DEDICATED VLOG CALENDAR FOR 2017!

Sorry for the yelling there. Let’s try to start the new year off with some positive energy. ^_^

And on that note, the first post for 2017 is a book review of a book from one of my favourite authors: Gregory David Roberts. If you haven’t already read this gem, I highly recommend it!

Best of everything in the new year and happy reading!

XXOO Kristy

Giants in the Sky: Nichelle Nichols

Greetings Viewers!

Wow. It has been a rough year. And the events of the last few weeks, especially in the USA, have been devastating. It makes you wonder if there’s any hope for humanity…

Luckily, books exist! Books and people writing them who are far kinder and more experienced than I will ever be regarding these matters. In this book review I share my thoughts and feelings on Nichelle Nichols’ autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories.

Something I wanted to say in the video but it got cut out: We are all on this rock spinning through space together. And yet there is too much violence and not enough respect for life. We can be better. Let’s be kind to each other. Let’s educate ourselves to recognize our faults and privileges. Let’s teach the next generations to be even better than us.

XXOO Kristy

Giants In The Sky: Louise Cooper

Greetings and welcome back to JSoF on the new schedule! I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and this week I’m bringing a wonderful book series to your attention.

This might be a regular thing so I Googled “Elements of a Book Review” and found a site that told me there are 7 Elements of a Good Book Review so here they are:

  1. Title: The Indigo Series; Author: Louise Cooper; Genre: Fantasy
  2. Personal Reactions: Absolutely loves this series. It was a fast, fun read that made me rethink the roles of female characters in fantasy and the nature of the hero’s journey. I like this series for the same reasons I like Lord of the Rings: Strong themes of duty, friendship, and discovering self-awareness when faced with the truth of the Heroic journey.
  3. Summary: The series begins with Princess Anghara who despite being betrothed to a man she actually loves has a lot of anger and discontent towards her place in life. She yearns-unknowingly-for more than just the life of a king’s daughter and sister to the future king. This yearning, matched with her anger, leads her to the Tower of Regrets. The Tower is an ancient building built by a man of legend in a time when demons preyed on humanity. For all of recorded history the people have been warned never to go near it. Anghara rashly flaunts these warnings and enters the tower, unleashing a demonic horde that ravishes her home and leaves her with a mixed curse-blessing of immortality until she tracks down and defeats each of the demons she set free. There are 8 books in the series and each book after the first follows Anghara, who takes the name Indigo, as she journeys the Earth and faces off against the seven demons. Each book introduces a new set of characters, and this keeps the series interesting and fresh with each new installment.
  4. Characters: Speaking of characters…As the main protagonist and central to each book, the reader has to like Indigo or the books are going to be a hard read. I’ll admit that at first I had doubts about her likeability. In the first novel-and indeed at moments throughout the series-Indigo is an angry young woman who lashes out at people. Her anger was a turn-off for me at first but I soon realized that the journey was about learning to control that anger and focus it to accomplish her goals.
  5. Style: Which brings us to character development. It was extremely rewarding to see how Indigo grew from a spoiled young Princess into a fully independent and self-aware woman. This series is less about an epic quest to save the world and more about one woman’s journey of self-discovery. And it is a beautiful, thought-provoking journey. Cooper handles this journey deftly, writing with a very engaging style: I saw the world and the characters unfolding in my mind and the books moved at a very fast pace. I never got bored and I was eager to continue reading, devouring all 8 books within a month.
    ->How is this series not a set of Blockbuster movies? I could easily see this being translated to the big screen, and the timing couldn’t be better for such a heroine’s quest. And every single installment would pass the Bechdel test. Hollywood! Get on this!
  6. Time/Culture/Perspective: This series was published in the late 80s and early 90s and I’m shocked that I never heard of it until now. A long-time fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work in the Historical Fiction/Fantasy genre, I’m beginning to understand that the late 80s was a time when female authors were bringing strong women to the front of their fantasy novels, no longer mere objects of admiration or dutiful and passive servants in a male-dominated hierarchy. Certainly Indigo encounters the Patriarchy throughout her journey but she negotiates it and wins, even when her power is taken from her. In an interesting twist the 6th book has her spending time among a matriarchal society and she discovers that even women are prone to tyranny and violence. A powerful message for young women trying to make sense of the world. It is refreshing to read about women who take action as agents of change-and in their own stories no less!
  7. Recommendation: This makes the Indigo series well-worth reading. Not only is it a great quest filled with magic-goddesses, demons, alternate dimensions and talking wolves-but it is also a definite feminist read. And when I say “feminist” I use it in its definitive meaning: a woman has an equal opportunity to make choices and follow her own life’s path. I highly recommend the Indigo series by Louise Cooper to everyone who enjoys Fantasy-Adventure novels and anyone searching for a strong female protagonist.
    And I really hope this becomes a movie series.

In conclusion, I would like to give a brief tribute to Louise Cooper. She was born in England in 1952. She began writing at a young age and hated school so much that she persuaded her parents to let her quit at age 15 to continue writing. At 20 she published her first novel and became a full-time writer in 1977. She published more than 80 novels for both adults and children before passing away at the age of 57 suddenly from a brain aneurysm in October 2009.

Thank you Louise Cooper for giving us your stories. You are an inspiration and I won’t forget to keep writing, every day, because I might not have tomorrow. Don’t wait to follow your dreams! Follow them now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed!

Kristy XXOO

 

Giants In The Sky

In the spirit of International Women’s Day (last Sunday) I decided to talk about the book I finished reading that morning. Serendipitously it was Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, the Woman Behind Cosmopolitan Magazine by Jennifer Scanlon.

Until I opened this book I sadly admit that I had never heard of Helen Gurley Brown. That’s probably because she proved to be a controversial feminist figure throughout her lifetime and because I have no interest in the Cosmo magazine. In the video I address the first part but had to cut out my thoughts on Cosmo. I plan to post a video in the future where I can muse more on the Cosmopolitan Girl topic. Because as it turns out, I have a lot to say.

I go into a brief history of Feminism and that increased the video length beyond the usual 4 minutes. Trust me, this video could have been a *LOT* longer. But less is more and you’re welcome.

Humanity still has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity-not just for women-but thanks to individuals like Helen Gurley Brown we have made remarkable progress in a relatively short amount of time. Regrettably Helen Gurley Brown passed away in August of 2012 but I will never forget her strength, wit, and courage. She was a woman ahead of her time. Thank you.

I highly recommend this book to anyone but it will be a great read for those interested in feminism and/or cultural and gender studies. Of course it will also be a welcome addition to any independent woman’s bookshelf who isn’t afraid to be Single and Sassy.

Kristy XXOO