Thursday Book Feature: Novel Depicts Life on the Set

The Cast
by Danielle Steel
Copyright 2018.

Kait is a New York magazine advise columnist who has been divorced twice and has three grown children. After a chance meeting with a television producer at a New Year’s Eve party, she is inspired to write a story line for a television show, based loosely on her grandmother’s story. After she shares it with this producer, he is impressed and decides to make it into a series.

Over the course of a year, as the series is produced and becomes a huge success, and Kait is kept busy working with the screenwriter on various episodes, she becomes involved in the lives of her cast members, and they become her second family. When one of her own daughters is killed overseas while filming a documentary, they all rally around Kait. She then becomes attracted to another actor from Wyoming. Will she open her heart to him after two failed marriages?

Despite Danielle Steel’s nasty habits of too much telling and not enough showing and use of unnecessary adverbs, I’m always drawn to her stories, and this one is no different. Fascinated by the entertainment industry, I enjoyed being transported into the lives of these characters. Being from Wyoming, I felt a special connection to the actor with whom Kait becomes involved at the end. The Audible narrator did an excellent job portraying even the female characters. I recommend this book to anyone interested in how a television series is made and who likes a heartwarming story with a neat ending.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Let’s Talk About Books

I love to read, and now that I have an Amazon Echo Tap, I enjoy the instant satisfaction I get when purchasing Audible and Kindle books and reading them right away without having to download them to another device first. So when Amaan Khan posted this book tag, I jumped at the chance to answer his twenty-five questions about my reading habits.

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Q1. How many books is too many in a series?

A. It depends on the series. I enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove and Harbor Inn books and wished there were more. All good things must come to an end, though, I guess.

Q2. Which do you prefer, character-driven or plot-driven books?

A. As a writer, I should know the difference, but I must admit that I don’t. In any case, I like a story with more showing and less telling. For some reason though, I’m always drawn to Daniel Steel’s stories which have the opposite.

Q3. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

A. As an author, I feel these are a great way to keep people reading, but as a reader, I usually like to stop at the end of a chapter. I don’t like being left to wonder what will happen, especially before I go to bed. It drives me nuts, and I won’t sleep, so more often than not, I’ll keep reading until everyone’s safe for the moment. I definitely do not like a cliffhanger at the end of a book in a series, especially if the next book isn’t available yet.

Q4. Do you prefer books in hard cover or paperback?

A. I prefer neither. Because of my visual impairment, I enjoy digital books, read to me by either a human or text-to-speech voice. I recently started having Alexa read Kindle books to me, and I like her style.

Q5. What’s your favorite book?

A. I don’t have any favorite books.

Q6. Do you like love triangles?

A. I don’t anymore. When I was younger, I found them intriguing, but now, I think they’re silly.

Q7. What book are you currently reading?

A. I’m enjoying The Cast by Danielle Steel, which came out a few months ago. I hope to post a review of it here soon.

Q8. Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?

A. I like both if it’s not too violent or boring.

Q9. What’s the oldest book you’ve read?

A. I don’t remember because I’m getting old myself. Smile emoticon.

Q10. What’s your favorite classic book?

A. That’s a no-brainer. It’s The Wizard of Oz, one of few books I read more than once. I must have seen the movie a million times. I even played Dorothy in a school production when I was in fifth grade.

Q11. What is your favorite genre?

A. When I was young, I used to like romance but not so much anymore. I like memoirs and fictional stories about family and relationships the most.

Q12. Who’s your favorite author?

A. I’ve already mentioned Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel. They’re my favorites.

Q13. How many books do you own?

A. I have so many on my portable reading device and in my Audible and Kindle libraries that I can’t count them all.

Q14. Do you use bookmarks or dog ears?

A. I don’t think it’s possible to dog ear the pages in a digital book, and Alexa doesn’t yet have the capability to insert bookmarks, but as long as she’ll resume reading where I left off, that’s all I need. If I want, say, a book on writing with exercises I need to bookmark for later use, I’ll download the book in another format and read it on a different device that has bookmarking capabilities.

Q15. Is there a book you can always reread?

A. Every once in a while, I’ll reread a book, but most of the time, I don’t.

Q16. Do you have a preference for first or third person point of view?

A. I like them both when used effectively in the story.

Q17. In what position do you read?

A. I either stretch out in my recliner in the living room or in a lawn chair in the back yard. I sometimes attach headphones to a portable device and listen while doing household chores.

Q18. Can you read with music?

A. No, since I read by ear, music is distracting.

Q19. Do you prefer audio or text books?

A. I prefer to have a human voice read books to me, but if a book isn’t available in a recorded format, and I want to read it right away, I’ll settle for a text version.

Q20. Do you like to shop in a bookstore or online?

A. I prefer shopping for books online. With my Amazon Echo Tap, it’s a snap.

Q21. Do you prefer stand-alone books or books in a series?

A. I prefer books that stand alone, but once in a while, I’ll take on a series.

Q22. What book do you recommend to everybody?

A. I review books here often, and those are the books I recommend. I also promote my own books, and I encourage you to read those as well.

Q23. What’s a book you’ll not read again?

A. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but as I said before, most books I don’t reread.

Q24. Do you prefer a male or female main character?

A. I prefer a woman as a main character, but once in a while, I’ll read a book where the main character is a man.

Q25. Do you prefer single or multiple points of view?

A. That depends. If a story is told from more than one point of view in a way that’s not confusing, I’ll read it.

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Now it’s your turn. I triple dog dare you to answer as many of the above questions as you can, either on your own blog with a link here or in the comment field below. I look forward to your answers. Happy reading.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Reblog: Saturday is for Sharing–Abbie Johnson Taylor

Thanks to Lynda Lambert for giving me this opportunity to promote myself. Check this out.

Saturday is for Sharing: Abbie Johnson Taylor

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Reblog: Unbroken

I got my weeks mixed up. The feature about me I thought would go live on Lynda Lambert’s blog today is actually not scheduled until next Saturday. So here’s and old book review from a few years ago. This is one of two books my regional talking book library has chosen to discuss this month, so I figured it was worth another look. Happy reading.

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Unbroken

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Novel Depicts World War II Racism

Tallgrass: A Novel
by Sandra Dallas
Copyright 2007

In this fictional account of events during World War Ii, an internment camp for evacuated Japanese-American citizens is established in a small Colorado town. Rennie, a thirteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm adjacent to the camp, tells the story of how these evacuees were transported to the camp and the townspeople’s mixed reactions to their presence. Despite suspicion that one of the camp’s inmates murdered a local girl, Rennie and her family stand up for what’s right.

Her father hires some of the boys to work on the farm. Her mother, skeptical at first, is forced to employ a couple of Japanese girls to help her in the house when she becomes ill. Other sub-plots include Rennie’s brother serving overseas, her best friend, the murdered girl’s sister, and one of the Japanese girls helping in the house. In the acknowledgements at the beginning, the author explains what inspired her to write the book. At the end, she provides historical information and discussion questions for reading groups.

Because I’m not proud of how we treated Japanese-American citizens in the wake of Pearl Harbor, I wouldn’t have read this, but my regional talking book library’s discussion group chose it, so what could I say? I like the way the author tells the story from Rennie’s first person point of view and how she places the girl in situations where she shouldn’t have been in order for her to gleam more of the story. I felt a connection to the setting because my late husband grew up on a farm not too far away during this time. Because the removal and imprisonment of Japanese-American citizens after Pearl Harbor was something I wasn’t aware of until I took a recent U.S. history class during my senior year of high school, this book would be a great way to teach young people about this aspect of World War Ii.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Re-Blog: Book Review


I read this book several years ago but never reviewed it here for some reason. Like Mary, I was a MASH fan and was drawn to Alan Alda’s work, which I give a definite thumbs-up. Enjoy, and happy reading.

Book Review

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Guest Review–When Night Comes


Today, I’m pleased to present a guest review of an interesting collection of poems. I haven’t read this yet but hope to do so eventually. You can also read Lynda’s review on her blog, and it was published this week in The Weekly Avocet. It contains some information about Lynda’s most recent collection of essays and poems and an email address where she can be reached. Enjoy, and happy reading.

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When Night Comes

by Wesley Sims

A Book Review by Lynda McKinney Lambert

I met poet Wes Sims One Sunday morning while reading my weekly issue of a poetry magazine, The Weekly Avocet, published by Charles Portolano, featuring poetry that has a nature theme. In one particular issue, I encountered 3 Haiku poems by Sims. Each intrigued me for he presented new ways of looking at something ordinary. The poems caught my attention. Since Mr. Portolano encourages his writers to drop a note to other poets and to make friends with them, I sent a note to Wes Sims to say how much I enjoyed his poems.

Eventually, I learned about Wes Sims’ poetry chapbook, “When Night Comes,” because he sent me a copy. I’ve enjoyed reading this 28-page chapbook. It is a collection of twenty-four poems.

The chapbook’s cover is a moody black and white photo of a nocturnal landscape by the author. I thought “This is the perfect image for this collection of poems.” In addition to writing poetry, Sims likes to do photography. I found that the all-seeing-eye of the photographer is apparent in the poems, as I read through this collection. He sees and speaks of little details that might go unnoticed. It is in the description of the little things that we are brought into Sims’ world through his poems.

In “How to Use a Shoebox,” Wes Sims gives us his secret and intention for writing: “the impact of little things preserved” (p.4)

The mostly one-page poems are created by building up layers of finely nuanced accumulations. Sims is actively viewing and preserving as he writes the poems. Minute images are intertwined with his personal and private memories as he has known them in rural Tennessee.
Sims describes his world – the present and the distant or even the historical past of his rural landscapes in Tennessee. Reading through the poems brings the reader right into his family circle. This is the place where Past and Present merge. The poem becomes a confluence in which time is collapsed. The individuals he presents are not generalized people, but they are family and they are named: “grandson; grandmother; Mr. Newman; Sister; Dad; Mother; Uncle Bo; Mrs… Engle…” This gives us a feeling that we know them personally or that we have just met them even though many of the people who populate his poems are no longer in this world.
But, more than this Sims gives us a deeper understanding of life as he has known it – and we feel like we, too, have lived this life. In the poem, “Eyes to See,” he speaks of watching a blind man…

“Until one day, when I saw
Him in a church setting
Heard his lips sing out in prayer,
And received my revelation—
I was a blind man, too.”
(from “Eyes to See,” p. 24)

Through the book we see deserted old rundown barns and abandoned empty sheds; time-worn, rarely travelled roads up into the hills; and the last days of people who have passed away. No matter where we live or what our life is like, we relate to Wes Sims and his reflections on particular individuals, rural life, death of loved ones; flowers, dogs, songs, snakes, music, personal memory and history. We know that our lives are enriched by the small things and places we encounter over a lifetime. It all adds up, in the end. Unimportant and trivial things really do matter.

You can find this chapbook for sale on the publisher’s website:
Buy it at Finishing Line Press Also available on Amazon:
Buy it here! or better yet, write Wes at wes4words@att.net

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems by Lynda McKinney Lambert, Pennsylvania artist, teacher, and author Lynda McKinney Lambert invites readers into her world of profound sight loss to discover the subtle nuances and beauty of a physical and spiritual world. She takes strands from ancient mythology, history, and contemporary life and weaves a richly textured new fabric using images that are seen and unseen as she takes us on a year-long journey through the seasons. llambert@zoominternet.net

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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