11. August 2011 · Comments Off on Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose by Diane Kidman · Categories: Book Reviews, Non-Fiction · Tags: , , ,

That’s right, “Herbs Gone Wild: Ancient Remedies Turned Loose” has been written by yours truly, Diane Kidman.  Much thanks to those of you who have given me input over the years, inspiring me to go a step further in writing.

“Herbs Gone Wild!” offers a wide variety of simple remedies, giving everyone the chance to be their family’s home herbalist.  You’ll learn how to naturally deal with cold and flu viruses, how to lower blood pressure, fix a migraine, even make your own salves and tinctures.  And occasionally I’m funny.

You can find my eBook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with more places to come.  The current price is only 99 cents, which is the best way I can think of to say thank you to all your support over the past five years of blogging.  It’s also the best way I can think of to introduce the world of herbalism to you,  providing a less expensive (even free) natural alternative for your family’s health.

If you decide to snag a copy, please drop me a line at themommyspot (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what you thought!  You may even find your suggestion in the followup to “Herbs Gone Wild! Ancient Remedies Turned Loose,” coming soon…

It all starts with an author’s note.  “Yes, it’s true” is the message Andy Andrews shares with his readers before they even get to the first page.  Otherwise you’d think you were reading a work of fiction – a story that could only come from the deep imaginings of Hollywood’s best.  Instead, The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances brings forth an extraordinary true story about World War II, German U-Boats, Nazis, mystery and intrigue – and the whole thing takes place on the Gulf Coast of America.

Most Americans have no idea that German submarines were out there sinking US ships right off our very own coastlines, but it’s true. Just the tip of the iceberg in this true tale, The Heart Mender tells about a woman who’s living the heartbroken life of a young WWII widow. She was cold, unforgiving, and angry. So when she finds an injured German soldier washed up on the Florida shoreline, the last thing on her mind is helping him.

The Heart Mender is full of real mystery and intruge it’s true, but it’s also a story of romance, forgiveness, and the often unexpected good heartedness of humankind.  Remember the whole Bridges of Madison County thing where we all bawled our eyes out because we thought it was true?  Then no one could turn up any National Geographic issues with bridge photos, we found out the author made the whole thing up, and readers everywhere threw up their hands in despair at the trick.  But The Heart Mender is the real deal, and it’s every bit as necessary to keep the Kleenex at hand at the end. (Okay, at the beginning and middle too.)  So if you need a bit of enccouragement – indeed if you need your own heart mended – and if crying your eyes out over emotional, jaw-dropping endings is your thing, here’s your next read.

I have read and reviewed numerous short story collections here at carp(e).  Most of them contain a theme of some sort; occasionally they’re as apparent as having a group of stories about the same characters.  Other times, the common factor is harder to detect – an emotion, for instance, or an exploration on one facet of the human condition.  With “Where The Dog Star Never Glows” by Tara L. Masih, a common thread I discovered was surprisingly a feeling, or a spirit in the story telling.  That beautiful spirit that permeates Masih’s short stories is nothing short of extraordinary.  Truly written from the heart of a poet, her ability to turn a phrase is more than appealing to this particular reviewer.

Each story is set in an unexpected setting;the island of Dominica, Texas on the Mexican border, India.  Every one is filled with imaginative, solid characters that are easy to connect with, difficult to part with by story’s end.  Most of the stories have the characters placed in the midst of change – sometimes headed for the better, sometimes the worst, often with the location playing a major role.  Throughout the book there permeates an unexpected sense of peace, even as characters battle against tough life decisions.  Settings and people alike are brought to life with well-chosen words handled like paint on a canvas, leaving the reader with lucid imagery and a sense of deep reflection.  

When well written, short stories have the ability to leave the reader with strong emotions in a smaller span of time – often within a mere few pages.  Masih’s stories have managed to stay with me days after finishing the book. The final tale in particular, “Delight”, will hold a special place with me for quite some time.

If you’re a lover of the short story, do yourself a favor and check out “Where The Dog Star Never Glows” by Tara L. Masih.  The vivid colors of this collection certainly will glow, and for a long time.

Want to win your own copy?  We’re giving one away!

Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:

1.) Just tell me about a place that changed you.  Maybe it changed you for the better, or maybe it was for the worst. (***You may enter once a day, but please list a new item you like each time.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Blog about, Twitter, and/or Subscribe! Get an extra entry for each of these activities.  This time just leave a separate comment for each (only one time for each extra activity completed), giving me a link to your blog post, your Twitter name, and/or a note saying you’re a subscriber. (Subscribe in the upper right !  

(Psst!  My Twitter name is dkMommy.)

Feel free to do all five to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, to enter.

For most of us, the wilderness of Alaska is shrouded in a beautiful mystery. We picture pristine forests, clear rivers and all manner of wildlife.  Its culture is diverse and unique from much of the lower 48, and it is these two elements – the land and the culture – that give Garth Stein’s novel Raven Stole the Moon the perfect soil in which to plant a story.

Raven Stole the Moon begins in Seattle where a husband and wife struggle to survive the two-year anniversary of their son’s death.  In an effort to make sense fo it all, wife Jenna suddenly flees her life and finds herself in a remote town in Alaska, reconnecting with her heritage and trying to find closure by returning to the land of her son’s death.

But no sooner has she found herself in Alaska than strange and otherworldly things start to occur.  Her Tlingit ancestry resurfaces, bringing with it all the myths and legends she’d assumed were nothing more than fairy tales.  But it seems there may be more to the town’s stories of Tlingit folklore.  Jenna begins to question the events surrounding her son’s death.  What really happened?

Stein, author of bestselling work The Art of Racing in the Rain, has a writing style that is fully engaging, a mixing of mystery and suspense with a bit of romance, and he weaves a tale filled with the supernatural without losing the realism.  His voice is fresh and unique, and anyone searching for a book that holds them tight right to the end will find such an experience in Raven Stole the Moon.

Want to win your own copy of Raven Stole the Moon?  We’re giving one away!

Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:

1.) Just tell me about a supernatural occurrence.  It can be something that happened to you, or you can get creative! Or maybe you think it’s all bunk – tell me! (***You may enter once a day, but please list a new item you like each time.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Blog about, Twitter, and/or Subscribe! Get an extra entry for each of these activities.  This time just leave a separate comment for each (only one time for each extra activity completed), giving me a link to your blog post, your Twitter name, and/or a note saying you’re a subscriber. (Subscribe in the upper right !  

(Psst!  My Twitter name is dkMommy.)

Feel free to do all five to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, March 15, 2010, to enter.

Scan through the archives of carp(e) libris reviews and you’ll find quite a selection of poetry. As I learn more and more about poetry, and as we learn to have a deeper appreciation for it through reviews and giveaways, I’m refining my tastes in the craft a little more with each book. The Opposite of Clairvoyance holds something of a blend of strength of voice and gentleness of spirit that I keep finding myself drawn into. Gillian Wegener’s selection of poems in her new book (published by Sixteen Rivers Press) covers a multitude of subjects that keep continuity through Wegener’s unique voice and musical rhythm. I often wonder how poetry would sound when read aloud by the poet, and this book is no exception.

Whether you’re a nature lover, someone who gains solace from reading heartbreak, or a mom in love with her kids, you’ll find something to relate to in The Opposite of Clairvoyance. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this poetry is cotton candy and tulips. There is a power to the voice as well as an edge, and many of the poems have an undercurrent of longing or reveal a disappointment in life. Regardless of the topic, each one ends leaving the reader to pause and reflect. For me, this is one of the main reasons to read a poem – reflection, either on the positive or negative aspects in life, and possibly the hope that the poet feels the same way we do, expressing it in ways we never thought to attempt.

To win your own autographed copy of The Opposite of Clairvoyance, read on.

3 Ways to Win:

1.) Leave a comment telling me what you look for when choosing poetry. Do you like something you can relate to? Easy to understand? Or do you like something more abstract? Have fun with your comment! Winners are randomly chosen, but if the name drawn doesn’t respond, I choose the next winner by comment.
2.) Email subscribers are entered into this and all future giveaways, for as long as their subscription is active. Simply place your email address in the little white box at the top of my sidebar on the right. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)
3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post.
Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, September 1, 2008, to enter.
10. July 2008 · Comments Off on The Death of the Poem and Other Paragraphs by Justin Courter · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,


Not too long ago, I reviewed an exceptional book called “Skunk: A Love Story,” one of those rare finds in literature you know you’ll not forget. Fortunately for me, and anyone else lucky enough to have discovered Skunk, author Justin Courter has not pulled a Margaret Mitchell on his readers by producing one great work and calling it quits. The Death of the Poem and Other Paragraphs is poetry (in paragraphs) that demands to be heard. I haven’t laughed out loud so much since–well, since Skunk. From the very first poem, Courter had my attention.

The poems, fun and edgy, sarcastic and all too true, sometimes had me initially perplexed until the “aha” light came on, compelling me to read each one at least twice so I could laugh some more, feeling good about getting it. Don’t be thrown, though, by all my talk of laughter. There is something deliciously biting about the poetry as well. And if you’ve ever worked in an office job while staring out the windows saying, “There must be more, oh why can’t I just create all day and skip the paper clips?” well, let’s just say this is poetry you’ll want to memorize and recite out loud just to irritate and mortally confuse your coworkers who live to file, sort, and staple. As Courter would say, “…the office is a kennel full of rabid bunny rabbits. Stomp softly and carry a carrot stick.”

And since I’m wearing out my copy of The Death of the Poem and Other Paragraphs, this Courter guy just got himself another Goldfish Award. Get a copy.

 

 


If you’ve ever enjoyed a story that seems impossible to categorize, unique and one-of-a-kind, slipping through the cracks of conventional labels, then Interfictions is waiting for you. One imaginative short story after another gives the reader a break from the humdrum, feeding the brain on the real merged with the surreal. Interfictions is filled with characters who hobnob with unlikely individuals, such as talking cats, ghosts obsessed with buttons, and creatures I can’t even begin to explain here.

An interesting feature in this collection occurs after each story when authors share a couple paragraphs, explaining where they came up with the story line, why they write in the manner they do, and other insightful tidbits. If you love writing as much as reading, you’ll find these added paragraphs just as fascinating as the stories they follow.

If you’re looking to stretch your literary mind with some truly inventive writing, enjoying the ride all the way, then give Interfictions a look. You’re sure to find several new authors to track down. I, for one, found a few that bear researching further, because for me, their short stories just whetted my appetite for the interstitial.

Don’t be an interstick-in-the-mud. Enter to win a copy of Interfictions from carp(e) libris reviews; the winner will be drawn at random on Thursday, July 10, 2008.

3 Ways to Win:

1.) Leave a comment telling me something about your short story reading habits. Is it easier for you to get some creative food with a short story? Or is there something else that draws you to them? (Be creative–if I don’t hear from the randomly chosen winner, #2 is chosen by their comment.)

2.) Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.

If you do all three, you have three entries to win.

Published by Small Beer Press.


When he was a young boy, Manjiro Nakahama ran away from his home in a poor Japanese fishing village. Joining up with some fishermen who took him under their wing, one of their fishing excursions soon turned into a disaster, stranding them on a deserted island. As they awaited their rescue, he had no idea he was about to say goodbye to his country for two decades and hello to what would lead to adventures on whaling ships, tropical islands, and even a life in America. Or that he would someday grow up to be the man responsible for opening the door between Japan and the rest of the world.

The New Bedford Samurai is an amazing and true story in a narrative setting. I’ve read quite a bit of Japanese literature, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover author Anca Vlasopolos’ book reads very much in the Japanese style. The writing has an almost fable-like quality, something I’ve often felt while reading a Japanese novel, and this style works well here, as Manjiro lived a life that could only have come from either a wild imagination or complete truth. One simply cannot read this book and wonder why we haven’t heard of Nakahama before. Vlasopolos has certainly brought forth a story long awaiting a writer to share it.

It is evident Vlasopolos did extensive research for this book, and she even mentions traveling to Japan to do so. Manjiro Nakahama’s life was complex, spanning many countries and major world events, and she takes you through every fascinating corner. She not only provides the reader with a story of a man that had to be shared, she manages to include a look into how the ways of today’s world have affected the environment. The reader will ponder not only how the attitudes of yesterday have impacted the earth of today, but how today’s attitudes will impact our future as well.

Read an excerpt of The New Bedford Samurai.

 


Part of the Quarternote Chapbook Series from Sarabande BooksContents of a Minute gives us a look into the poetry of Josephine Jacobsen, celebrated poet. This 29-page collection is filled with recently discovered and previously unpublished poetry and is a great collection whether you’re just discovering Jacobsen’s work or you’re already a fan.

Jacobsen’s poetry is filled with depth and rhythm. If you’re new to poetry, I would suggest someone like Jacobsen for her ability to pull the reader into a scene without being confusing. This is not to say her poetry is simple–it is anything but. In fact, the subject matter often has dark undertones, speaking of death or longing. But it is not so heavy as to drag the reader down and leave them wallowing. There is something redeeming about the beautifully swaying beat and the unusual rhyming schemes in many of the works, such as in the poem Natural, one of the recently discovered. It is almost sung, and even if you’re not the poetry-spouting type, you may just find yourself trying to commit a fragment or two to memory for later.

Whether you’re a poetry buff or not, I encourage you to check out Jacobsen’s work. She won many awards in her lifetime, including the Robert Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, the highest award a poet can hope for. If you’d like a copy for yourself, I have an extra one just for giving away.  Enter to win by midnight on Friday, June 20, 2008.

3 Ways to Win

1.) Leave a comment telling me something about your poetry reading habits. Do you ever read poetry, or is it something you’re hoping to try? (Something more than “I want this book” is kindly suggested.) If the randomly chosen winner doesn’t reply to my email telling them they’ve won, I often choose the #2 winner based on their comment.

2.) or Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail.)

3.) or Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.

If you do all three, you have three entries to win.

 


Ever since space exploration first became a real possibility, the people of America have been looking towards the skies with hopeful wonderment. Finally, there is something more mysterious for humans to focus on than our own complicated lives. Susan Woodring’s collection of short stories,Springtime on Mars, captures this sense of the unknown, in regards to all that has been America’s pulse from the 1950’s to today. 

The assassination of John F. Kennedy, walking on the moon, the Vietnam War, and UFO’s are all backdrops to Woodring’s stories as the characters try to understand their own universes of death, disappointment, and fear. If this book has one overall theme, I’d have to say it is fear of the unknown. By placing the stories in various time periods rich with American history, Woodring has managed to bring out the best in each plot, giving a wonderful contrast and lending much more to the flavor of each. 

One thing that impresses me about any book or story, no matter the length, is a good ending. Most tend to peter out after the climax, and while they may tie up loose ends and give the reader a sense of closure, very few leave me with a sigh of good old fashioned readerly satisfaction. But I believe I got that sigh out of every one of Woodling’s stories. I actually found myself putting the book down to say, “Now, that was a good one,” before picking it up to start the next. Combine that with a constant shifting of time periods, most of which any reader will remember and hold a sentimental attachment to, and you have a great combination for staying on Mars straight through to summer.

Note: Published by Press 53.  If you buy from their site, you even have the opportunity to buy a book for a soldier.  They really appreciate reading materials!