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Benze on Books – April 7/14

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credit:  Net Galley

credit: Net Galley

Windwalker

by Natasha Mostert

From the award-winning author of Season of the Witch, comes a highly original story of murder, redemption, eternal love and destiny. WINDWALKER will keep you on the edge of your seat. And break your heart.

Synopsis:  When photographer, Justine Callaway, walks into the deserted English mansion, Paradine Park, she doesn’t suspect that she is opening the door to the greatest mystery–and magic–of her life.

Justine becomes obsessed by the family who used to live in the house, especially the oldest son, Adam Buchanan. But why is she so drawn to a man who had killed his brother nine years before? And why, as she photographs the house, does she discover ghostly images she knows she did not record?

Even more unsettling, she senses someone is stalking her, watching her…

This was the second book I read by Natasha Mostert & I was not disappointed.  Again, she draws the reader in with a supernatural tale full of twists & turns & a surprise ending.

While housesitting, Justine discovers disturbing secrets about the family who used to live there.  What could motivate one brother to murder another?  She finds herself drawn to the killer. There is a connection between them she cannot explain & it leads her on a journey of discovery & danger within the house & halfway around the world.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5.  Definitely a good read.

Introverts Club Share Your Week – Week 13

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Credit:  Cee's Photography

Credit: Cee’s Photography

It’s Friday!  I’m late!  But better late than never, right?  

Just an update for my followers, I am working on Camp NaNoWriMo this month, so I’m always going to be behind in reading your posts, but I do try to catch up!  So far 3 writing days – a little over 3,000 words.  Did good the first 2 days & then bombed yesterday, but today & tomorrow are other days, so I still have a chance.  

Now, on to the pressing questions for this week:

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?

As a matter of fact I do believe in extraterrestrials, always have, always will.  For much the same reasons as others have stated, how vain of us to think in the whole cosmos we are the only planet with life, much less intelligent life.  Have you been watching “Cosmos?”  If you haven’t, you should, just to get an inkling of how insignificant planet Earth is.

What type of pet or pets do not want to have?

Sorry, Pickles, but I would never want a snake!  I want a pet I can cuddle with.  Since I’m allergic to cats, feathers, rabbits – this leaves me with dogs.  We currently live in an apartment which doesn’t allow pets, so I’ve been without a dog for almost 3 years now & I still miss my dog every day.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I would be purple of course!  Purple is a regal color, it’s also associated with Christmas which is one of my most favorite times of the year.  Purple is also so versatile – it still looks good as a pale violet or a deep blackish purple.

What type of transportation would you be? Why?

I think I would like to be a train.  Trains get to go to interesting places & see lots of sights.  They don’t whiz past at the speed of flight where they don’t get a good view.  I would love to do the route through the Rockies so I could look at the mountains & lakes every day.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful I was still able to get into a nice cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo since I seem to really need the structure in order to work on my novel.  

I am looking forward to a productive week writing, some time to myself & hopefully good health!

 

Tickle Me Tuesday – 04012014

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Courtesy Microsoft Clip Arts

Courtesy Microsoft Clip Arts

Drinkin and Drivin in Newfoundland . . . .

Two Newfies, Archie & Harry, were driving down the road drinking a couple of beers.

The passenger, Harry, suddenly said, ‘Lord tundering…up ahead — it’s a police roadblock!! We’re gonna get busted for drinkin’ dese here beers!!’

‘Don’t worry,’ Archie said. ‘We’ll just pull over & finish dese beers, then peel off the label, stick it on our foreheads & throw the bottles under the seat.’

‘What fer?’

‘Jist let me do de talkin’, OK?’

So they finished their beers, threw the empties out of sight & put a label on each of their foreheads.

When they reached the roadblock, the police officer took a long look at the two of them & said, ‘You boys been drinkin’?’

‘No sir,’ said Archie, pointing at the labels.  ‘We’re on the patch.’

Must be a Canadian thing, eh?

Wine Cheaper Than Gas

 

Just a quick heads up for my followers, I’ve gone & done a silly thing again – I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo Camp for the month of April!  For some reason, I’m bound & determined to get this book written!  On top of that, I’m starting a new online university course on Forensic Sciences.  So if you don’t see as much of me this month, it doesn’t mean I don’t still love each & every one of you (& you know who you are), I’ll try to catch up as I can!  I’ve been busy over the last few days getting some posts scheduled, so please continue to stop by!  Mwah!

Benze on Books – March 31/14

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credit: Net Galley

credit: Net Galley

SEASON OF THE WITCH
By Natasha Mostert

Synopsis:  In her award-winning novel, Natasha Mostert blends alchemy, the art of memory, high magic and murder to create a highly original psychological thriller.

Gabriel Blackstone is a cool, hip, thoroughly twenty-first century Londoner with an unusual talent. A computer hacker by trade, he is also a remote viewer: able to ‘slam a ride’ through the minds of others. But he uses his gift only reluctantly — until he is asked to find a young man last seen months earlier at Monk House, in the company of two mysterious women. Gabriel becomes increasingly bewitched by the house, and by its owners, the beautiful Monk sisters. But even as he falls in love, he suspects that one of them is a killer.

This book introduced me to the concept of alchemy which is one of the unusual & archaic arts of witchcraft.  I also experienced a system for remembering called a memory castle which I have since seen examples of in popular television.

While I wasn’t enthralled with the lead character in the beginning since he wasn’t the most likable hero, I grew to like him better & better through the book.  As he “slams a ride” through the last moments of a missing young man he begins a journey which threatens his whole life as he has known it.  After he discovers a diary he learns the secrets & desires of one of the sisters, but doesn’t know which sister is the author as he falls deeper & deeper under their spell.  There are many twists & turns to keep you turning the pages through to the end.

I would give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 since the end came too soon.

 

An Introvert Club Member’s Share Your World – Week 12

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Credit:  Cee's Photography

Credit: Cee’s Photography

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

I think the smells associated with Thanksgiving are my favorite smells – pumpkin pie, vanilla, roasting turkey, spiced apples

How do you write: computer, longhand or other?

I have used a computer for writing for a very long time.  It started when I had arthritis in my hands, making it difficult for me to use a pen for any length of time.  Then I fractured my right wrist & my right hand was in a cast for a little over 6 weeks & I couldn’t use it to write with, so I just became used to using the computer for all my writing.

Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)

Talk about putting me on the spot!  I like the posts I have written in support of causes the best – gun control (http://benzeknees.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/are-you-kidding-me/), feminine issues (http://benzeknees.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/international-womens-day-2012/), bullying, etc.

What’s one of your favorite books from childhood?

I remember Alice in Wonderland as one of my favorite books.  I used to read a lot of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries as well.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for all my blogging buddies, I am grateful for the prompts provided by Cee’s Photography for Share Your Week & the Introverts Club.  I am looking forward to starting my new online course from FutureLearn on Forensic Sciences starting on Monday, March 31 so I can learn more to help me with future writing.

Are You Where You Thought You Would Be?

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credit:  online stock photos

credit: online stock photos

This post is inspired by Life in the Boomer Lane’s post on Guerilla Aging http://lifeintheboomerlane.com/2014/03/21/guerrilla-aging-when-where-we-are-isnt-where-we-thought-wed-be/

I am afraid to say my life isn’t what I thought it would be. As part of the boomer generation, I was very much into the hippie movement.

I have always been very independent.  Up until I became pregnant with my daughter, I thought I would be a career woman & never have any children at all.  I had been steadily climbing the rungs of the ladder to that goal (unaware I would have hit a glass ceiling at the time).  I started working my very first job just weeks after my 16th birthday & I worked all of my life up until August, 2012.

In August, 2012 I had been struggling with some health issues (severe incontinence associated with a very difficult hysterectomy, explosive diarrhea associated with gallbladder removal, shortness of breath) & then I injured my left knee. No one had a definitive answer for why I couldn’t bear weight on my left leg anymore (I woke up with it), but I was assured it was “just a sprain.” Except it didn’t get any better. I used a cane, but still had a great deal of difficulty getting around & the pain was not letting up.  I went to the emergency room to try to get some help & was told I was aggravating the “sprain” & was now experiencing micro-tears in the ligaments of my left knee.  I was put on crutches so I would do no weight-bearing at all.   In the meantime I continued to try working.  When my assignment ended I wasn’t in any hurry to take on a new assignment because hubby & I were in the middle of moving from the south end of the city to the northeast end of the city.  I wanted to take some time to get settled in our new place before going back to work.  Except when I tried to go back to work, there was no work for me – I had received an uncomplimentary performance review which referred to my knee injury being part of the reason my performance was not satisfactory.

I had just finished back to back assignments where I was replacing people who had just walked off the job in the middle of their shifts, so I guess I should have been better prepared when both assignments gave poor performance reviews for me.  But I had such an exemplary performance record up to this point, I was totally floored by what happened!  I was 56 years old & I was out of work & not in the best of health.  Although I made a good faith effort to find work, I had no luck whatsoever.  Every job interview for jobs I did not get pushed me further & further into depression.  By the time my employment insurance benefits ran out I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed.

I am still suffering with severe knee pain, severe incontinence, my respite from back pain (born with spina bifida) seems to have ended & I  have recently been diagnosed with COPD for which there is no cure.  My health will only continue to deteriorate.  I was lucky enough to find a medication to help with the explosive diarrhea.

I am fighting with the government to get disability benefits which is mind-numbingly debilitating.  I have had no income for well over a year.  I now rely totally on my husband for support who is fighting his own battle with unemployment.  Who wants to hire someone who is so obviously close to retiring?  (Sorry hubby, but you do look your age)  This is hard for me to do.  I have always had my own income & even if it was low income, I was always able to contribute to looking after the household.  Due to back pain, knee pain & shortness of breath, it is difficult to help with any household chores.

Why is it when you need help due to disability, the government puts so many roadblocks in your way to keep you from getting the help you need.  You’re sick, but expected to jump through hoops, when walking is difficult enough.  You’re already dealing with the loss of ability (& possibly your approaching demise) & the depression which accompanies it, then the government adds to your depression by making it all so difficult for you.  A blogging buddy has said the government does this to you because they hope you will be too sick to keep up the fight, so they won’t have to pay out the benefits you have paid into your whole life.

credit:  online stock photos

credit: online stock photos

I thought these years would look much more like the picture on the left.  My husband should be retiring in May of 2015,  but it’s not going to happen.  Like he says, he will probably have to work “until he drops dead.”  His unemployment benefits run out in another couple months.  Our retirement savings are slowly dwindling as we have to use them to supplement our income right now.  We have pared down our expenses & soon may have to make some tough choices about changing our frugal lifestyle even more.

This is not how I thought I would be spending my remaining years.

Happy 80th Birthday, Gloria Steinem

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benzeknees:

Happy Birthday Gloria Steinhem! You are a role model for so many women, including me!

Originally posted on Life in the Boomer Lane:

Steinem

 

Gloria Steinem turns 80 tomorrow. Life in the Boomer Lane knows better than to assume that most people are aware of those people who have shaken up the world in ways that change us forever. So, for those of you who missed Gloria Steinem, here is a quick review: She was hot enough, as a young journalist, to go undercover as a Playboy bunny in 1963 to expose the misogynistic world of the Playboy empire. She was prolific enough to have authored several bestsellers. She was witty enough to have coined any number of memorable phrases, including “This is what 50 looks like,” on the occasion of her 50th birthday. She was creative enough to have co-founded New York Magazine and to have founded and run Ms Magazine. She was feisty enough to keep going, in spite of women who were threatened by the idea of taking their lives into…

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