The Last Azawufe

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The Last Azawufe

The Last Azawufe by Rachel Helms

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While out for a walk with Thorn, her horse, Leona comes across a strange liquid. When Leona is transported to the world of Polyenses after touching the mysterious liquid she finds life to be very different. Women are wearing tunics, men carry swords, and everyone seems to be a bit more proper. There’s one thing that’s incredibly different about Leona though – she has the ability to communicate telepathically with Thorn, and every other animal for that matter. She soon learns that only an Azawufe has the ability to do that. But what is an Azawufe and how did she become one?

I gave this Young Adult Fantasy novel 4 Stars because – I Really Liked It!! This first time author has spun an exciting tale with an unexpected twist at the end of the novel. I finished the book feeling satisfied as the story reached its resolution, but its ending also left the door opened for an equally satisfying sequel.

A heavy wind went careening across the Oklahoma plains. The wind carried the rain of the heavens, sweetly enticing in its freshness. It swept across the crops of corn and wheat until it came to a large farm. The howling current of air slowed down in the presence of trees, but only somewhat, and then came to rest on a young girl who was brushing her filly.

I have always liked reading books written by Oklahomans, and I am especially intrigued by stories about Oklahomans. This book offered me both. That, and my love for reading fantasy made this novel a book I had to read. And I’m glad I did too, because this book is exceptionally well written and hugely entertaining.

I am acquainted with this author, if only casually. My wife and I have bought fresh vegetables from her many times at the local farmers market. This connection to the author made the reading a little more fun for me as it gave me a measure of insight into the protagonist. I chortled to myself when Leona said, “we had a huge garden. It was filled with everything: watermelon, tomatoes, cantaloupe, cucumbers, corn, carrots, squash, peppers, and even more.”

I look forward to Rachel’s sequel.

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Nunsensations

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sensations_colorNunsensations: The Nunsense Vegas Revue by Dan Goggin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Nuns are back!!! Performing at the Guymon Community Theatre on March 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th at 7:30, then Sunday the 3rd & 10th at 2pm. Yes, the little sisters of Hoboken are back, and they’re better than ever too.

When a parishioner volunteers to donate $10,000 to the Mt. Saint Helen’s School if the Nuns will perform in Las Vegas, Mother Superior is hesitant to accept. However, after being convinced by the other sisters that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” Reverend Mother agrees. What follows is more nonsense, shtick, and feather-boas than any Nunsense show yet! Performing in “The Pump Room” at the Mystique Motor Lodge, the sisters experience “show-biz” like never before. You’ll meet Sin-City Sue, find out who’s Black and White with Her Money on Red, and try to win a new car with the “Holy Rollers” giant Wheel of Fortune. You’re sure to hit a jackpot with these crackpots.

I gave this show 5 Stars because – It Was Amazing! And pretty funny too.

The format of the show is familiar to anyone who has seen one or more of the five Nunsense shows before this one. The gags may be freshly written, but the act itself really hasn’t changed that much over these six shows. As usual, each nun has done an impressive job of portraying her character’s established quirky identity to a tee, and of course the entire cast remains quintessentially nunsense-ical. The jokes are all new, so you’re sure to enjoy the sisters’ antics regardless of the level of fandom you bring to the theater.

There’s no need to go all the way to Vegas to see a good vaudeville show with a little T & A. These little sisters of Hoboken have brought plenty of Talent and Attitude right here to Guymon, USA.

When the Storm Passes

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When the Storm PassesWhen the Storm Passes by Julie Jett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s May 22, 2011, in Joplin, Missouri, and thirteen-year-old Avalie Milner has just finished dinner. Within minutes, a mile-wide tornado will change her life.

After being rescued from the rubble of her home, Avalie sets out on a mission: to find her loved ones, to restore her home, and to survive on her own in a world that will never be the same.

Reading this book I learned about how many of the tornado survivors went on-line to Facebook in order to reconnect with each other after the storm. I’ve been intrigued for a long time by the affinity that many people seem to have toward Facebook. This story gave me a new insight, an epiphany, into the personal nature of an impersonal medium.

 When the storm passes, there may be rain and wind and destruction, and even death.
When the storm passes, there may be fear and pain and longing and silence.
When the storm passes, it is time to mourn those lost, to rebuild, and start again.
When the storm passes, a new life begins.

I have relatives from Joplin, Missouri, who survived the catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin in the late afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011. I usually don’t read Young Adult novels, but my familial connection with the setting for this story piqued my interest. While I would have undoubtedly enjoyed this book even more were I still a teenybopper, the realism of events and emotions throughout the book were riveting for me, even at my age. I enjoyed this novel, had a good cry, and would recommend it to all others of any age.

May God hold you in the palm of His hand, and give you the peace that comes only when the storm passes.

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All Different Kinds of Free

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All Different Kinds of FreeAll Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A free woman of color in the 1830s, Margaret Morgan lived a life full of promise. One frigid night in Pennsylvania, that changed forever. They tore her family apart. They put her in chains. They never expected her to fight back.In 1837, Margaret Morgan was kidnapped from her home in Pennsylvania and sold into slavery. The state of Pennsylvania charged her kidnapper with the crime, but the conviction was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time a major branch of the federal government had made a pro-slavery stand, and the ruling in Prigg v. Pennsylvania sewed the bitter seeds of the states’ rights battle that eventually would lead to the Civil War.Yet, the heart of this story is not a historic Supreme Court ruling. It is the remarkable, unforgettable Margaret Morgan. Her life would never be the same. Her family had been torn apart. Uncaring forces abused her body and her heart. But she refused to give up, refused to stop fighting, refused to allow her soul to be enslaved.

All different kinds of free, and all different kinds of bondage too. Heartwarming, and heartbreaking. In my revery I laughed out loud, and at times I cried aloud too. This wonderfully felicitous novel is one of the best written books I’ve read in a while, and one of the most sobering too. I highly recommend this book to history lovers, and all lovers of humanity too.

I often marveled at how there can be all different kinds of free…  I suppose now I’ve learned there are all different kinds of bondage, too.

A historical fiction novel, All Different Kinds of Free, has an amazing blend of prose and subtlety of ventricular, with a writing style easy for me to read. That, and a story needing to be told makes this a book I’ll be talking to others about, without a doubt.  I look forward to this author’s next novel.

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Daddy’s Home

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My dad was born on October 31, 1924. He passed to new Life on July 9, 2012. He is survived by my dear mother and his loving wife of 65 years, and by my two bothers, two sisters, 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

Dad grew up doing the usual things – swimming, fishing, hunting and sports. He graduated from High School in 1943 and immediately joined the US Marine Corps. He served his country from 1943 until 1946 when he returned home and joined his father and brother in the family business. Dad was a volunteer fireman, active in Lions Club, and a member of the Christian Church where he served in most elected positions of those groups.

Here’s a little of what is was like for me growing up; a tribute to my father:

Can you hear that? That’s the six o’clock whistle. People can hear it from all over town. I’d better get for home quick, he’ll be there soon.

I’m standing by the front door now, all out of breath. I see a green GMC pickup truck barreling down Main Street. It downshifts, takes a wide turn at the corner, and slides to a stop out front. Someone jumps out and swings the driver’s door shut hurriedly behind them. The handsome young man walks briskly out around the truck, and in just a few quick stiff-legged-strides, he’s heading up the walk. I can finally catch my breath again and I howler, “Daddy’s home! Mommy? Daddy’s home!”

Growing up for me was special, because I was special. To my dad, I was “Tiger Tom.” I was the number 76 written on a piece of cardboard hung around my dad’s neck on parent’s night at a high school football game. I was, “that’s my boy,” and “rawr, rawr, rawr,” and “go get ’em Tom.” Whether I was on the field or on the sidelines, I could always hear him cheering me on from up in the stands.

The year I graduated High School they held our annual awards presentations in the middle of the day during school hours, which makes it kind of tough for working parents to attend. I know it wasn’t easy for him to get away from work to be there for me. He probably had to work it out with my uncle, changing lunch hours around and all. Lord only knows everything he gave up for me, but he was there. He was there for Me. I can still remember walking back to my seat, after actually receiving an award, and looking up and seeing him sitting there watching me. I didn’t know ahead of time if he’d be able to make it, but there he was. It felt so good and I was so proud that He was my dad, and to have a dad like that.

I remember when Dad used to take me along on the Lions Club trips to Bears Stadium in Denver to watch the Denver Broncos play. Now That was back in the day. We had some great times together, just us. And then 20 years later, my oldest son and I had the honor of attending a Promise Keepers Men’s Conference with Dad at that same stadium. Of course by then it was renamed Mile High Stadium. Those trips to Denver hold some great memories for me, and I know my son has special memories of his trip there too.

Another thing about growing up with my father is that I could never lie to him. I simply could not bring myself to do it. It just was not in me. Although, I have to admit, I tried it once. It did not work. Suffice it to say, he knew I was lying. Which is partly why it didn’t work. But mostly it didn’t work because I didn’t need to lie to him. My dad always believed in me, even when no one else believed in me. I just could not make myself look at his unconditional love straight in the eye and not be honest with him.

I will miss him. I know I will miss him. I already do. I love you Dad.

Shhhhh! Can you hear that? It’s the six o’clock whistle. Daddy’s home. Daddy’s finally home.

The Other Side of Suffering

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The Other Side of Suffering
The Other Side of Suffering by John Ramsey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On Christmas night 1996, six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was violently murdered in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado, home while the rest of her family slept upstairs in their beds. Her father, John Ramsey, was placed under an umbrella of suspicion as being her killer. Her mother, Patsy Ramsey, who was battling ovarian cancer at the time, was publicly placed under that same umbrella. The Other Side of Suffering is John Ramsey’s story of the tremendous suffering and heartache he has endured in his life. But this is not just the story of a singular horrific event, and it is not the story you’ve heard over and over from the news media. It is, in a story never before told, John Ramsey’s personal journey of suffering, courage, and faith.

Extremely well written and filled with emotion, this book contains many sad and incredible stories told to illustrate John Ramsey’s journey through suffering and faith. Although I initially approached reading this book with skepticism, I soon found myself reading through tear-filled blurry eyes. By the time I had finished reading, I had openly wept several times throughout the book.

This book was written as an encouragement to those who might otherwise abandon their faith in God in times of crisis and tragedy. The author elucidates the fact that life is not always fair, life is not always easy, but God is always good.

People ask me how long it takes to get over the loss of a child. My response is, you never get over it. ~John Ramsey

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Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts!

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Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts!
Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts! by Judi Coltman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I almost didn’t finish reading this book, but every few chapters I’d get a small morsel of entertainment and so I just kept on reading. I think the entire purpose of the book was simply that the author wanted to be able to say she “wrote” a book. That is one reason to read it too, so you can say you “read” a book. I couldn’t recommend it, but if you start reading this book, eventually you’ll be finished with it, or not.

It only took me 48 years to make the leap from the present tense of “writing a book” to the past tense of “wrote.” That could not have happened without every single person who told me to do it. And really, sometimes, you have to create your own reality because others can suggest it but they arenʼt going to do it for you.

Begin at your own risk.

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