Book Review: Refugee by Alan Gratz

Middle Grade Book Review: Refugee by Alan Gratz 5 Stars *****

Also relevant to Young Adult readers.

This book captured my heart from the beginning. We follow three children’s voyages, as they are represented from different countries and different times in history, from chaotic homeland to what they hope will be a better life. We journey with them as they and their families battle the elements, armed and hostile government representatives, hunger, thirst, terror, betrayal, and one disappointment after another. We meet Josef, a Jewish boy from 1939 Nazi Germany, who has just turned thirteen and is fleeing the terrors of Adolph Hitler’s regime; Isabel who flees starvation, fear,  and lack of liberties in Fidel Castro’s 1994 Cuba; and Mahmoud, a  boy fleeing devastation, starvation,  and violence from 2015 civil war torn Syria. Each story is poignant without being soppy. Each character actively participated in their journey to freedom, often demonstrating more courage than the adults around them. No pampered introverts here.

Not all the refugees who journeyed with the main characters made it to safety and freedom. Some lost family members or dear friends. Many countries along the way violently opposed letting the refugees enter their borders, even if they were attempting to pass through to another country that openly accepted these displaced persons from around the world. Prejudice, fear, lack of sympathy and understanding, armed guards at the borders, all presented barriers that could not always be circumnavigated.

In the end, one character who had been a refuge from 1939 Germany opened her heart and home to a 2015 refuge from Syria. She was the only one from her family who survived, and empathized with young Mahmoud, whose heart and spirit were broken and who longed to be reunited with his baby sister from whom he became separated.

These stories are from real life travails of one person or a combined story of several refugees. Maps are charted at the end of the book, showing the route traveled on a world map for each character coming from a different part of the world.

If the stories from this book touch your heart, please consider donating money to two organizations recommended by the author of this book: UNICEF (United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund) and Save The Children. Both organizations spend 90% of their funds on services that directly help children. Learn more at www.unicefusa.org and www.savethechildren.org.

Lesson Ideas—

  • Study the locations, politics, and governments of all countries mentioned in the book. In what ways have they changed over time? What sanctions have the other countries imposed to try to influence specific countries to change policies and end violations of human rights?
  • Analyze the escape route each character took. Chart the distances traveled according to different modes of transportation. Estimate and calculate the amount of time for each segment of the journeys.
  • Pretend you lived in the same time and place as one of the characters who journeyed through your country. What might you have done to help? What resistance might you have faced?
  • Write a letter, poem, song, or play to tell one of the characters how you feel about this terrible time of their lives.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

 

Advertisements

MG Book Review: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

MG Book Review: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng -5 Stars  *****

This book is perfect for 10-12 year olds, especially those who are obsessed with communicating with outer space and/ or unfortunately, are victims of parental neglect.

What a wonderfully, surprisingly insightful book this turned out to be! The formatting is so different from a traditional book that I was not sure what to expect. The story is told in the first person point of view — without quotation marks and often in interview format—of eleven year old Alex Petroski from Rockview, Colorado who decides to travel to a site near Albuquerque, New Mexico to the SHARF rocket festival where he plans to launch his home-made rocket in competition. Before he leaves, Alex rescues an abandoned dog whom he names Carl Sagan after his role model and idol. Carl Sagan accompanies Alex on his three-day trek which gives them both a series of adventures and a purpose to clarify some loose ends and missing information. Alex uses his IPOD to keep a record of conversations and sounds to create a Golden Record which he plans on sending into outer space, similar to what the famous astronomer Carl Sagan did with Voyagers 1 and 2.

As the story unfolds, it is apparent that Alex is a neglected, unsupervised child with a heart of gold and the wisdom of a much older person. Although he is eleven, Alex likes to brag that he has the smarts of a thirteen year old and should not be judged by his age. Alex’s father is deceased, his mother is schizophrenic and missing in action most of the time—physically, mentally, and emotionally—and  his twenty-four year old brother lives and works in Los Angeles. Alex goes to great lengths to hide the fact of his abandonment.

His open, loving, and generous spirit endears him to the outside world as he travels with Carl Sagan to meet his destiny. Alex meets up with friendly, caring, adult strangers who aid him in his now three-fold quest: to attend and compete in the rocket festival in New Mexico, to verify if the man on the internet search with the same name and birthdate as his thought-to-be-deceased father is in fact his father in Las Vegas where he inadvertently discovers a half-sister, and to visit his older brother, RJ in Los Angeles whom he hasn’t seen in over one year.  Alex and Carl Sagan both experience setbacks as Carl Sagan is hopelessly lost in Las Vegas and Alex is severely injured in Colorado. Thankfully, the adults in Alex’s world step up to the plate bringing this heart-wrenching story to a satisfactory ending as they learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions—all except for Mom who is an extreme case requiring long-term treatment, which may or may not work.

Wow! What an emotional roller coaster!

Lesson Ideas—
* Study the cosmos, interplanetary communication, principles of rocket science, Carl Sagan
* Calculate distances from location to location according to different methods of transportation

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn 5 Stars *****

This has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read! That this is the author’s debut novel is astounding. A.J. Finn (real name Daniel Mallory) opted to use a pseudonym to protect his privacy. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…This book became an immediate best seller, is the biggest selling fiction title of 2018, has been translated into thirty-eight languages, AND is being made into a major motion picture due to be released in 2019 starring Amy Adams.

Anna Fox, an agoraphobic woman, formerly a child psychologist, now living alone in New York City, hides from the world with bottles and bottles of wine, old classic black and white movies, and last, but not least, her camera with its zoom lens which enables her to magnify the otherwise flimsy details of her neighbors’ lives as seen through their uncovered windows. Yes, this story brings back memories of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train, but it is so much more. The premise is the same, but this book is no rip-off. The plot has many twists that unfold slowly. Anna’s real story seeps out while the reader is given glimpses and hints throughout.

Anna becomes obsessed by the new family across the park. The Russells present a contradictory picture. Nothing is as it seems. Anna is sure she has witnessed a violent crime, but the police cannot find any proof. Anna befriends their sixteen year old son, Ethan, who is presented as a sympathetic character. David, Anna’s basement tenant, is a moody character with a criminal past. Anna’s husband and daughter live “elsewhere” as a result of their marital separation. Abject fear of leaving her home prevents Anna from venturing outside. Being a voyeur keeps her in touch with what’s real. Groceries and medications are delivered. Her therapist makes house calls. Weird things start to happen which make Anna and others doubt her sanity. Is Anna being Gaslighted?

The dialogue from these wonderful old classic films cleverly mirrors the events taking place in Anna’s life in real-time. Characters are developed. The author shows rather than tells. Transitions and interior thoughts move the plot along. We look inside the head of a desperate woman and begin to realize what she tells us about herself might not be entirely true. We begin to mistrust her judgment. Despite this, the ending takes us by surprise. You see, we find out we only thought we knew the real Anna Fox.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

 

Book Review: The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

Book Review:  The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable- A Novel About JFK  (John F. Kennedy) 4 Stars****

Did JFK have a love child with Alicia Corning Clark?

Alicia Corning Clark was an actual person whose life mirrored many of the events in the life of the fictitious main character of this book.

Wow! What a story! Although this is a novel—a product of the author’s imagination—the author has read more than 150 books about the Kennedy family and has mixed fact with fiction in this very unflattering portrayal of one of America’s most celebrated presidents and the family that surrounded him. The problem for me in a book like this is the author does not qualify which  events and conversations are based on accurate facts, and which are imaginative portrayals thrown in for dramatic effect.

The main character, beautiful, sexy, social-climbing, truth stretching, opportunistic Polish-Jewish survivor of the WWII Holocaust, Displaced Person, Alicia Darr, meets JFK in Hyannis Port during the summer of 1950. Alicia works as at the local movie theater and also fills in as a house maid and server at the Kennedy household—a boisterous, rambunctious, ill-mannered, disrespectful, cold-hearted, manipulating, misogynistic bunch of ruffians. That’s on a good day! Alicia Darr, born Barbara Kopczysnka, speaks several languages and is well-versed in world politics and able to hold her own in conversation with the movers and shakers of the day. Alicia becomes involved with Jack Kennedy (as he was known) on his climb to congress, then the presidency. Alicia and Jack are engaged to be married, but Joseph Kennedy, Jack’s father, wants Jack to end the relationship since it is unseemly that a president of the United States should have a Jewish Displaced Person as a wife. After possibly being paid off, Alicia walks out of Jack’s life with her heart broken. Jack continues to have affairs with other women and soon marries Jacqueline Bouvier. Alicia lives among the rich, famous, and celebrated in New York, Hollywood, London, Paris, Rome, marries a few times, and intermittently sneaks off for trysts with JFK. One of these intimacies results in a secret pregnancy and birth of a beautiful little girl who is raised in Rome by Alicia’s dear friend. Many conflicting rumors fill the gossip columns. Was Alicia Darr Purdom Corning Clark actually a conniving hooker, or a misunderstood, misinterpreted beautiful woman who just made some very poor choices? In the end, Alicia dies alone as a recluse and leaves a sizable estate to her daughter, Serena Palmisano, who only knew her as a dear friend of her “mother” Novella Palmisano.(The real Alicia Corning Clark died in 2016) The author tells us this decision to give up her child was the result of death threats made against Alicia and her child. Alicia feared for their safety, put her daughter in a perceived safe place, kept her mouth shut, and went on with her life.

This book challenges many of the facts we have come to accept about the Kennedy family. For example, while JFK presented himself as a strong man who encouraged vigor or vigah as he pronounced it, he actually “relied on exercise, hot baths, heating pads, massages, back braces, and crutches to combat his physical pain. He also wore corrective shoes, slept with his head elevated, and had sex with the woman on top. Toward the end of his life, he and his wife (Jackie) had had frequent methamphetamine injections.” (This is not part of the story but presented as factual information)

As part of the story, Alicia Darr’s friend tells her the following: Bobby Kennedy killed Marilyn Monroe as Peter Lawford looked on; Frank Sinatra’s son was kidnapped at the behest of the Kennedy’s; socialite Mary Meyer was killed in broad daylight after she planned to write a tell-all book about her affair with JFK; gossip columnists Cholly Knickerbocker’s and Dorothy Killgallen’s reputations were destroyed in retaliation for published pieces of gossip. Also, Cholly Knickerbocker’s wife committed suicide (or may have been forced) by swallowing thirty pills as a result of depression after being socially ostracized by Jackie Kennedy at her husband’s request.

You can see this is not a happy story. The Kennedy’s are negatively portrayed with family quirks spotlighted—sexually inappropriate father, cold as ice mother, wild, inappropriate kids, gangster methods of achieving fame, fortune, and reaching goals. How much is true? Good question. It makes for fascinating reading.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

 

Chapter Book Review: Magnificent Mya Tibbs-The Wall of Fame Game by Crystal Allen

Chapter Book Review: The Magnificent Mya Tibbs- The Wall of Fame Game by Crystal Allen- 5 Stars *****

This book is perfect for 8-10 year old readers.

What a delightful book! We meet 4th Grader Mya Tibbs from Bluebonnet, Texas who is filled with a zest for life and a cowgirl spirit that keeps her going through all situations. When Mya is challenged by the class mean girl, Naomi, to participate in the school Wall of Fame Game Mya is motivated by the challenge as she thinks, ‘Everybody is looking at me. Naomi just called me out like the bad guys called out Annie Oakley, back in the Wild West, for a duel in the middle of the street.’ “I have no choice,” Mya announces to her best friend, Connie. Yee-haw!

Mya’s competitive spirit leads her to study daily for the Wall of Fame Game. Mya  also practices every day to re-create her mom’s chili recipe until she gets it right so she may win the community contest. Mya’s mom has won the last two years, but her baby girl is due to be born any day, and she must stay off her feet. Mya accepts this challenge so mean Mrs. Frazier won’t win. Cowgirl Mya is intent upon stealing the show at the chili contest by performing a cowgirl chili song.

Mya, her brother, and their friends all help to prepare the room for the new baby girl, Macey so it will be ready when she is brought home from the hospital. All of the friends also display a generosity of spirit in helping without expecting anything back.

Mya wins one contest, but not the other. Her mother explains that the beauty of entering both contests gives a reason for the family to work together as a unit so they can help one another practice to accomplish their goals. While Mya is determined and has a one track mind about winning, her older brother, Nugget, is a wonderful example of another way to handle challenges. Nugget tries repeatedly to make the baseball team, but once he realizes his strength lies in coaching, he graciously announces to his family, friends, and coach that he excels at coaching and would like to act as an assistant coach to bring his team to victory. And that’s what he does.

I loved this book for showing readers how a functional family and community work with healthy competitiveness and a generous spirit in helping loved ones achieve their goals. Everyone in this story worked hard for what they wanted to achieve. No whining allowed!

Lesson Ideas—

The author included the following website as provided by Mrs. Heather Renz who provided information from the Mastery Club as a reference for anyone interested in playing the Wall of Fame Game or looking for other teaching tools to use in the classroom or at home. Click here .

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Book Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Book Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani- 5 Stars  *****

Another beautifully written story by one of America’s most talented authors. Set in 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s post WWII America, this story shows the strong connection between the people of the small village of Roseto Valforte, Italy and the immigrants who left their old life behind to pursue the American dream. Filled with the ups and downs of family and work relationships, the desire and drive to fulfill personal goals, the quest for love and acceptance, the desire to create and maintain community and family, Trigiani takes us on a beautiful journey as we drop in on the lives of her characters who seem so real, the reader feels as if visiting old friends.

Trigiani writes beautifully with a command of language that is never soppy or melodramatic, but manages to drive right to the heart of the situation. The book is filled with humor and some of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard. Feelings, concerns, conversations are deep but relatable, personal but universal, humorous but poignant. This book represents the beliefs at that time—especially those of Italians and Italian-Americans—the importance of family, marriage, children, the community, and the Catholic Church. Many ideas might seem out-dated, but here is a snapshot of another time and place, in this country, where basic values mattered and roles and expectations were clearly defined. I was raised with these guidelines. No, my life did not turn out as I expected. The world had other ideas and maybe I was not strong enough to secure my place in it with the same intention that moved me earlier in life. Sometimes, in going with the flow, we lose our core and lose sight of our dreams as we tread water to keep afloat.

Some examples—

(Nicky) “She had everything planned. The future came with a recipe.”

(Mabel) “A woman holds her virtue like a prize,” she continued. “It’s her way of securing her future with one man under one God in one house of her own design. In exchange for that life, imagined in her dreams,, and promised by the man of her choosing, secured with a decent ring, the woman gives the man a joy he has never known.”

Mabel went on, “Look at what the man gets. He gets a life! He is taken care of! He gets a house full of children, hot meals, the laundry done, waxed floors, clean sheets, and a foot rub every other Saturday night or whatever particular request the husband makes of the wife, that’s for the couple to sort out in private. Now, let’s look at what she gets. She gets a purpose. A woman aspires to be a bride in order to be a wife, which gives her a job, which gives her a place in this world that is indisputable, irrefutable, and wholly and uniquely her own in the eyes of God and the law. When you yank that away from a woman and you rescind a proper offer of marriage, you have fired her from her own life.”

(Narrator) “Nicky had always been the extra boy, the pinch hitter, the fill-in when a kid didn’t show up, called in sick, or quit. He was the replacement, dutiful, cheery, and reliable. If he was good, he was always allowed to stick around. Maybe that’s why he was so eager to try on someone else’s life for a while, to be Carlo Guardinfante. It hadn’t worked out so well to be Nicky Castone.”

(Narrator) “Jo followed Nancy down the long gravel path out of the cemetery. When they reached the street, they embraced before parting, one went east, the other west, but somehow that day, they went in the same direction.”

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Did You Know? Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot Were Aliens from Sirius? According to Author Linda Stasi in Book of Judas

Book Review—The Book of Judas by Linda Stasi

Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot aliens from Sirius? Hey, don’t blame me. I’m not the one who wrote a book predicated on this assumption!

This started out as a book review. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, another money hungry media presence comes up with a publicity- catching topic guaranteed to attract readers and stir up doubts in the cauldron of Christianity. I’m still trying to figure out if Stasi really believes this trash or if she’s going the Dan Brown route and making herself famous by being controversial. Who knows? In the May 2018 issue of Long Island Woman, Annie Wilkinson interviews Linda Stasi who, when asked, “Any plans afoot to transfer it (Book of Judas) to the big screen?” admits, “Anybody listening? I hear that from EVERYBODY who’s read both Book of Judas and The Sixth Station. I really wish some tough-ass actress would option them.” Her intentions are clear, but it seems to me that dismantling other people’s religious beliefs in order to have your book optioned as a movie is unconscionable. Money hungry and/ or religiously intolerant?

Author—Let’s take a look at Linda Stasi. She’s a self-proclaimed agnostic Catholic Jew with some Italian-American thrown in to make things even more contradictory. Stasi’s book jacket tells us she’s a celebrated columnist, co-host, author of fiction and non-fiction books, AND named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York City by the New York Post. Sorry, but I never heard of this chick. I was born and raised in New York City and spent most of my adult life here. I watch TV news including NY1, talk shows, morning shows but she has somehow managed to escape my attention. I tried to follow online links to her accomplishments, but they did not lead anywhere. But what do I know? I certainly don’t know every famous (?) person in this city but I would still like to verify exactly who she is and what she does.

Source—So, where did Stasi get this bright idea? From The Book of Judas, of course. Paraphrased…”Found in Egypt a century after Judas Iscariot died, lost and resurfaced in a safe deposit box in a Citibank in Hicksville, Long Island, NY,  (This part is true. Missing pages led to speculations and treasure hunting  Of the original 31 pages, only 13  were found in 1999 with the missing pages believed to have been removed, lost, and/ or stolen.)  Judas supposedly tells how he was recruited by Jesus to pretend betrayal so the prophecy of the crucifixion and resurrection could take place. Judas was needed to apply secret extra-terrestrial formulas on Jesus so Christianity could begin. According to this book, Judas was the trusted treasurer of the group and the only respected disciple of Christ. You see, Jesus Christ thought all the other disciples were weak, blithering idiots and had no use for them. Jesus told Judas that anyone who followed the teachings of the disciples would never know Him. Only the people of generations way in the future would truly know God and His message because they would come to understand that God is within the individual, and has nothing to do with rules and regulations. ”

It’s amazing that Judas had the time to write this even though he died soon after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. He was hunted and reviled for his betrayal of Christ, but yet we’re supposed to believe he wrote thirty-one pages of fan club news about himself while throwing the others under the bus, on the run, and while in extreme emotional distress, which was witnessed and documented.  

Teachings According to Book Characters— “Is this proof that Jesus is not the son of God as the Church would have us believe, but a being from another realm, whatever the hell that means?”……”Yes.”

“And the Immaculate Conception?” ……”An angel came down to a young girl and impregnated her? An angel? They had no word for what came to Mary back in those days,” he said. “Beings that flew perhaps in a craft of some sort, or could levitate, could pass through dimensions of time and space? A being, who left Mary’s child with the knowledge imprinted on his brain to resurrect. He could not be left here to die?”     

“Here, look where Judas tells Jesus, ‘I know who you are and which place you come from. You came from the realm of the immortal Barbelo.’ ”

“…But—and here’s what has never been known—Judas says he did not hang himself as it says in Matthew, nor did he fall down and explode as it says in Acts. The thirty pieces of silver? Never used for his grave in Potter’s Field.”……”My God. Are you saying Judas was resurrected as well?”……”I’m saying he just went to the ‘realm of Barbelo.’ ”

“Well, I have been looking for a code, something that was missing: a reason that the disciples who were the possible real betrayers of Jesus didn’t want this Gospel to ever be spread.”……”Look at this. I believe the letters in the word ‘Barbelo’, B-A-R-B-E-L-O, are encoded. Each letter stands for another letter.”……”He showed me the equation on paper. It read: B=S, A=I, R=R, E=I, L=U, O=S.”……”I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”…...”Decoded, ‘Barbelo’ stands for ‘Sirius.’ “

“Right you are,” he said. “Sirius A, the Dog Star, the brightest star in our night sky. Remember the Dogon tribe that I told you about, who knew about the stars of Sirius, which were not visible to the naked eye?”……I nodded, remembering…… He opened a screen and pointed to an image of their rotation, saying, “That pattern of rotation that they described? Well, the rotation of one around the other forms an almost perfect double helix—the human DNA pattern!”……“Are you telling me that Jesus and Judas were somehow identifying Sirius as the star where human creation began?”……“I am.”

I’m going to stop here. There are more teachings, but they reiterate the concepts already discussed.

Two of the Gnostic Tenets—Gnostics are a splinter Christian group unrecognized by the Catholic Church. The Book of Judas has been carbon dated to the end of the second century and believed to have been written by Gnostics more than a century after Judas Iscariot’s death. According to Wikipedia and other online sources, two of the basic tenets: One evil unknowable God gave rise to many lesser spirit beings called Aeons and One evil, lower spirit being is the creator who made the universe. So, we see the point is reiterated that Gnostics believe our universe was created by an evil lesser being who had nothing to do with Jesus Christ since Jesus never managed to get His true message through to anyone except Judas Iscariot and the Gnostics.

PLOT—A cat-and-mouse game ensues while Alessandra’s friends and relatives are endangered or killed, and her six month old baby boy, Terry, is kidnapped and near death as she becomes embroiled in an international chase while helping her best friend, Roy, sell The Book of Judas which he inherited after the death of his no-good father, a bank manager who deliberately stole part of the contents from a safe deposit box in Citibank, Hicksville, Long Island, NY where he was the bank manager. All characters are suspect except for Alessandra’s family. Double dealing, two-faced, lying, dishonest, self-serving people surround Alessandra. Whom to trust?

Evaluation—Thumbs Down. Two Stars out of Five. Please remember. This started out as a book review. Alessandra Russo, the main character, is a Type AAA personality. A hyperactive, hysterical woman who reacts the same way to a hangnail as to her son’s kidnapping. There’s little suspense in this book—just a hysterical female reporter rushing and yapping through life. The author took the easy way out. Instead of creating tension and real suspense, she tries to confuse the reader with the loose cannon antics of the main character. The reader isn’t rendered breathless. It’s the main character who hyperventilates through the scenes. Psuedo-tension. Melodrama. Well-balanced characters don’t act this way. I truly think this author is covering up poor writing and a lack of plot development with smoke and mirror chase scenes and gratuitous murders. A thrill a minute, not to be taken seriously. Very disappointing. I looked forward to reading a thriller, but instead read a comic book for adults without the benefit of cartoon characters.

Religious Insults Against Catholics—

The author praises Pope Francis as a saint, but denigrates all others in the Vatican as liars, low-lifes, schemers, etc. Repeated cutting, prejudicial remarks are made about Catholics and the Catholic clergy.

However, in Chapter 8, a Jewish man is described in this way, “Engles, you say, is meeting you at six A.M.? That one wouldn’t get up early for his own bris.” THIS is referred to three times as an anti-Semitic remark. It’s obvious the author is overly protective of those of the Jewish faith, while throwing Catholics under the bus. Since when is it anti-Semitic to mention a man is habitually late?

In the last chapter, a Muslim man demands respect for Jesus’ mother Mary, ” “You filth! You are the great liar. You bring Iblis disguised as the secret power of the Son of the Holy Mother Mary, a woman beloved and respected by the Prophet Muhammad, himself.”  The man who attempts to sell these stolen pages from The Book of Judas is dressed as a priest.

The same Muslim man rejects this Book of Judas as false, “The sheik spat on him and then took a long, curved knife out from under his thobe. “You are a thief and the prophet of a false god.” Bn el Metanaka!”  The defender is not Christian, but rather, a devout  Muslim.

These are instances of the author attributing religious piety to a Muslim sheik who defends Mother Mary and the accepted beliefs about Jesus, and protecting a Jewish man from a perceived religious insult while the Catholics in the story are mostly presented in a negative light—even to the point where the Catholic core of religious beliefs is attributed as misguided nonsense, because after all, Jesus Christ was an extraterrestrial from Sirius, a guy who dropped down on us from another planet to play a resurrection game with a sleight of hand named Judas Iscariot.

Catholicism /Christianity is under attack! If this nonsense were spewed about the religion of Islam, there would be a fatwa against the author of this book. Remember Salman Rushdie? The media will not allow negative talk about any other religion.  Christians are being murdered in the Middle East, and denigrated in this country. Authors like Linda Stasi have an agenda—for whatever reason—and are bent on creating chaos within the religion.

Why can’t they live with respect for those whose beliefs are different from theirs? I don’t know.  Do they find it necessary to come up with ridiculous theories about why they choose not to believe? After all, if our God is presented as an ET and a joke, do they think it shows them as smart for having walked away? I don’t think so. When I read books like this, I believe the authors shows themselves as soulless one-dimensional bodies without spirit—bound to the earth for eternity, lacking enlightenment and creating havoc wherever they go. How sad.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

My Books Are Now Available for Borrowing from Manhasset Library, NY!

Great news! Printed copies of my books are now available for borrowing from Manhasset Library, LI, New York. 30 Onderdonk Avenue, Manhasset. 516-627-2300.

Printed copies of my books are also available for inter-library loan at Queens Library, Nassau County Library, and Suffolk County Library in New York.

The digital copies are available in Queens Public Library and may be available in other library systems throughout the country. If your library cannot provide access to these books, please ask them to purchase in digital or paperback formats to add to their collection.

My Book Titles

Middle Grade…(8-12 year olds )

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion

12 – Adult…

Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

In New York, this is where you can find my printed books:

The physical copies are available from the Queens Library system at Central Library, Jamaica; Bay Terrace Library in Bayside; Whitestone Library in Whitestone. Or, you can borrow through inter-library loan if you’re a Queens County library patron.

Also, the physical copies are also located in the East Hampton Library and Port Washington Library. Suffolk and Nassau County library patrons can borrow through inter-library loan online.

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on the library website.

Thanks,

Elaine

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

MG Book Review: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Middle Grade Book Review: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron-4 Stars ****

A perfect book for 8-12 year old dreamers who believe in magical things that cannot be seen and heard by everyone, but nevertheless, exist, even for even a moment in time. This is the story of New York natives, eleven- year old Tess and her ten-year old brother Max who are visiting their Aunt Evie in the rolling hills and green meadows of England. Their father is a war reporter in Afghanistan and their mother is gravely ill and recuperating in New York. The reader must be able to leave the temporal world behind and suspend judgment to allow imagination to soar. What seems to be is as real as you believe, although others may not experience this realm at the same time, in the same way.

Tess has a very strange but exciting  meeting with a lonely boy, William III who lives in the castle in the mist. Tess brings Max to meet William, and they are invited to return later that night for dinner to celebrate a month of two moons—a blue moon and a blood moon with an eclipse. In this magical realm, gates and locks, people and things, ponds and swans, frogs and carousels appear and disappear so quickly that the casual observer may believe they never existed in the first place. Max is the scientific, conservative realist, while Tess is the creative, ever-searching, open-minded explorer. Max  has passed trough the open portal of the hawthorn trees, perhaps lost forever, but William dives in after him, with their fates unknown. Tess reminds herself of her father’s advice when she needs to bolster her resolve, “Don’t ever doubt yourself.’ But at the same time he’d added, ‘But don’t be fearless either. If you’re frightened of something, figure out why. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to assess the situation.” Tess remembers this advice, and uses it to break through barriers to rescue Max and William from another realm. The children’s adventure is so fantastic that they fear no one will believe them, so they decide not to tell their aunt of their adventure.

After the celebration of the two moons the children return to their aunt’s house to find their father there with plans to take them back to New York the next morning. Tess asks for permission to say good-bye to William. When they approach the castle, they are shocked to see it’s a museum and the caretaker tells them no one has lived there for over fifty years. The caretaker tells them the story of the family that once occupied this house and how they were reunited on the night of the two moons with an eclipse. Tess and Max realize they were part an extraordinary event. Invited into another time and place, they witnessed a beautiful moment in their friend William’s life, when he is reunited with his father and now his mother can take her rightful place in her son’s life. This mirrors the surprise Tess and Max have with the arrival of their father who is now bringing them back to the world they know and love and to the mother who eagerly awaits their return.

 Lesson Ideas—

*Study the properties of flowers, plants, and trees and their effects on people, nature, and the environment.

* Investigate space travel, the constellations and heavenly bodies of the night skies, time travel, the fifth dimension

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Book Review: Nights Arose by Andrea Roche

Book Review: Nights Arose by Andrea Roche

 

I really enjoyed this fantasy romance swashbuckling female heroine tale and her exploits in the 17th Century island of Jamaica. Set against a seemingly accurate historical backdrop, this story is told in beautiful imagistic language with strong appeals to the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and muscle memory—for example, “She gazed out on the white-capped sea. At the shoreline waves crashed into the golden beach. They tumbled into themselves with an unforgiving wrath, and withdrew, deserting white foam on the soggy sand.” Astral planes, magic, sorcerers, dragons, the constant fight between good and evil add up to a riveting story of how one woman with special powers must fight to keep herself and her family safe from those who would use her gifts for their own evil ends. I must admit, I was often confused between the real-time events, the past and the future, but the story kept my interest so I read it in one sitting. That’s saying a lot!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: