New Year, New Goals

2015 was a crazy year for my family. We found out we were expecting a new baby. Then we found out that the baby was a girl. Then I had her a few weeks ago. My heart has swelled.

My son turned two. This is still crazy to me. I can’t believe my little boy is two. Time flies.

We moved into a new house. Thank goodness. We needed more room.

My husband got a raise at his job. Only that was basically a moot point since our insurance costs went up.

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. This is also crazy to me. It is such a short time but it feels like he has always been there.

This is the year I really got to know who Bernie Sanders was. This was an important moment in my adult life. I realized that there is still a way to better our country. 


 

2016 is bound to be just as busy and full of new things for my family. Here is a list of things I/we have planned for the new year.

  • Travel to another country for vacation. ( current candidates are New Zealand, Germany and Australia.)
  • Read 150 books. (This is a family goal)
  • Take more hiking trips.
  • Spend more time at the lake and national parks.
  • Lose the rest of my baby weight. ( I only have about 15 more lbs to go)
  • Help more Indie Authors get their books out.
  • Actually take the time to do proper date nights with the hubs.
  • Increase Mason’s home school time.
  • Properly decorate the house.
  • Spend as much time outside as we can.
  • Help Bernie Sanders get elected.

It’s not a bad list if you ask me. I hope that this new year is full of adventure and learning for my beautiful family. 

Whats on your list?

 

 

This Weeks TBR

Due to having a new baby, I have gotten a little behind on my reading. I may not be able to finish these by Sunday, but I will do my best.

The Split Book

Summary from Amazon:

You’re sick.

What if a cure = the truth?

What if the truth was worse than the disease?

You need to be cured . . . veil jumper . . .

You’re sick . . . moonshine monster . . .

You’re not aware . . . verse skipper . . .

GO AWAY, you tell it. It can’t be . . . you have a voice in your head like everyone else. But the voice changes. It’s you, but different . . . from another time? Questions your reality, your friends, and your sanity. He tells you things before they happen. You feel them too. You don’t want him in your head – this is your life, not his. What does he have to hide?

Aurik was caught in the Split line. A joint experiment between countries, the slit experiment, ruins the planet’s petroleum. Changes life and changes kids. Physical and mental disorders plague them and continue to get worse along with confusing extrasensory powers. Compelled to seek help, they go the only place they can; the island.

Aurik is no different, except for the voice in his head. Everybody believes the island can help, but he knows better. His brother went three years before and returned home in a lead box. A lead box with a window.

Aurik’s change starts then he meets other kids with the change. Together they make the long, dangerous trip for help but something isn’t right at the island. They already know Aurik.

He’s never been there.


 

visionsight cover

Summary from Amazon:

Jenna Stevens sees the future. But only when she looks into her loved ones’ eyes. And it’s driving her crazy because she can’t prevent all the misery and heartache lying in wait. She quickly decides the gift of “vision-sight” she inherited from her mother is actually a curse.

So she distances herself from everyone she cares about, throwing herself into her acting career and the arms of a young director. But she’s haunted by her visions and begins drinking as her life spirals out of control.

VisionSight is the story of a young woman’s search for courage as she tries to figure out how to help the people she loves. What she doesn’t realize is that she must save herself as well. A heartfelt novel of secrets and unexpected love.

Magical Realism and Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

 


 

Are any on your list?

 

 

Vet Get’s His Dogs Back


 

This Veteran had a heart attack back in September. His dogs were taken since he was now unable to care for them. Months later he goes to try and get his dog’s back only to find out he must pay adoption fees. A bunch of volunteers got together and paid the adoption fees for this man as well as donated money to get the dogs some food and other necessities.

What these volunteers did was amazing. I’ll say that first.

What isn’t amazing is that this man clearly loves his dogs. Since he was put in a situation beyond his control and they took his family (dogs) from him and were just going to sell them to someone else? 

They were going to make him pay to get his own dogs back.

WHAT THE FUCK?

Why couldn’t the dogs be put into a foster situation until this man became well again? 

It is appalling that they were just going to pack them off with someone else. I don’t know about you, but my animals are my family. I would be devastated if I got sick and someone stole my dogs from me and put them up for adoption.

I am very glad that this came out the way it did but, it doesn’t change the fact that this man even being in this situation in the first place is bullshit.

 

 

Indie Author Spotlight – James DiBenedetto

James DiBenedetto is the author of of “The Dream Series”. AlliesOpinions has reviewed the fist two books of this series with more to come. To see the reviews, click the titles. “Dream Student” “Dream Doctor” 


 

DiBenedetto author pic

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he’s not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The “Dreams” series is James’ first published work.

www.writingdreams.net


 

The Interview

Q: The “Dream Series” is definitely unique. What gave you the idea to begin writing it?

The idea came from a question: in mystery stories, why do average people try to solve crimes themselves instead of going to the police like any normal person would do? And my answer was, what if the only evidence of the crime was in their head, if they saw the crimes through the eyes of the criminal. Or, even better, in the dreams of the criminal. Then you’d have to investigate yourself, because what could you possibly tell the police? The idea came from that, and the character of Sara was born right along with the basic idea.

Q: What made you decide to make Sara a doctor?

Right from the beginning, the setting for the idea was college, and Sara was always a pre-med student. I’m not sure where that came from, she was just “born” that way. When I finished the first book, I felt like I had some momentum still going and I wanted to continue, so it just seemed logical to follow her to medical school. And when that book was done and I still wanted to continue Sara’s story, the obvious choice was to see what life was like for her as a practicing doctor.

Q: Do you believe that the ability to tap into someone’s dreams is possible?

I do. There’s so much we don’t know about how our minds work, and so many unexplained things out there. I think a lot more is possible than we imagine.

Q: If you found that you had the abilities that Sara has, would you use them the way she does?

I’d like to think so. But you never really know until you’re in that situation. And she struggles with doing the right thing herself, especially as she gets more control over her ability and learns how much she can really do with it. I don’t know that I would trust myself with the full range of things Sara can do by the end of the series. I’m not sure I’d trust anyone with that kind of power!

Q: Do you have any writing quirks?

Not really, as far as my writing process. In my actual writing, I tend to digress a lot, and I probably overuse parentheses (although I’ve gotten better about it in my actual books!)

Q: What kind of music do you listen to when looking for inspiration?

Mostly classical and opera – that’s what I listen to the majority of the time anyway. Although the first Dream Series book, DREAM STUDENT, is influenced by 80’s music – it does take place in 1989-90, after all!

Allie: I actually really enjoy listening to Opera. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that. 

Q: Other than writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Reading, movies, cooking, the opera and trying to keep our cat out of trouble (that last one is more of a constant job than a hobby, I guess!)

Allie: I spend a fair amount of time trying to keep my pack of animals out of trouble too. Full time job.

Just For Fun Questions:

Q: If you could time travel, where would you go and what would you do?

October 14, 1930. I’d go to the premiere of “Girl Crazy.” It’s my favorite of the old George Gershwin musicals. He conducted the orchestra himself, and Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller were all in the orchestra that night. And, it was the debut of Ethel Merman, and also the show that made Ginger Rogers a star. Can you imagine all that talent on one stage?

The boring answer is, I’d go back to 1986 and invest a few thousand dollars in Microsoft when it went public. That’d be worth three million dollars today.

Q: Imagine you are stranded on an island. What three things would you most want with you? (other than people, food, shelter and necessities for life)

My iPad (and something to charge it with). That would take care of music, video and reading needs.

A whole lot of Legos. Yes, I’m a child at heart!

My cat, Danny.

Q: If you could shape-shift into anything, what would you pick?

If I could change back and forth, I’d pick a bird of some kind. It’d make getting to and from work a lot easier!

If it was permanent, I think I’d just pick my own body from twenty years ago (a lot more hair, a lot fewer pounds!)


 

About The Series

Summary from Amazon:

College junior Sara Barnes thought her life was totally under control. All she had to worry about was her final exams, Christmas shopping, applying to medical school – and what to do about the cute freshman in the next dorm with a crush on her. Everything was going according to plan, until the night she started seeing other people’s dreams.

It’s bad enough that Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes. Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.

Dream Student is the first book of the Dream Series.

Other Books By JJ Dibenedetto:
Dream Doctor
Dream Child
Dream Family
Waking Dream
Dream Reunion
Dream Home


 

This Author has earned the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval.

dino stamp of approval

 

Christmas Fail

If my mother in law were alive, she would of kicked my ass this Christmas.

Pictures were of the utmost importance to her. I’ll agree that they are important and I have tried to capture memories via my camera lens as often as I can.

I recently got a new memory card for my phone. All these ebooks I download will fill up the memory on a phone real quick. I assumed all my stuff was moved over to my memory card. 

I am not the most technologically inclined person. 

So, when Mason ran down the hallway yesterday morning to open his presents I had my phone poised for picture taking glory.

I hit the button and wham bam a message pops up telling me I don’t have enough memory to take a picture. Are you freaking kidding me?

There was no stalling Mason. He was dead set on opening those presents. So, we let him. Sue me. We got some video with my hubs very old craptastic phone while I tried to free up some memory on mine while being yelled at by Fianna because I didn’t have my boob immediately available the second she decided she was hungry.

It was a bit chaotic. To say the least.

So, if ghosts exist (which I hope they don’t cause that is scary as hell) I am sorry Stacey. I failed big time on memory catching. I’ll do better next year. I’ll even put batteries in my actual camera. 

Honestly though, it was nice actually seeing the memories with my eyes instead of through my camera. Just saying.

Book Review “The Hydra” by Graham Stull

Summary from Goodreads:

2020. The world watches as biogeneticist Brian Matterosi goes on trial for his life before the International Criminal Court. His crime? To engineer a virus which has swept the globe and sterilised entire populations. Is Matterosi a genius or a madman with a God complex? Only one thing is certain: he is a complicated man with a difficult past.

Nobody would acknowledge that more than Matterosi’s defence attorney, Art Blume, who is spearheading the campaign to save the scientist’s life.

Prosecutor Leeton Kgabu has no such difficulty: for him Matterosi is a vicious murderer who deserves death for his crimes against the human race. The world craves justice, and Leeton is determined to see it happen. At all costs.

To Art Blume’s dismay, Brian Matterosi appears intent on helping Kgabu achieve his goal. What dark secrets are driving the scientist to seek his own annihilation? Is he truly the worst mass murderer of mankind or is he its saviour? As the trial progresses, Art discovers he is running out of time to find the truth.


 

This was one hell of a political thriller. From beginning to end you are entrenched in this world. You are angry and contemplative. You are curious and shocked.  Its a hell of a ride.

Brian Matterosi is a complex man. He’s a kid who had nothing and no one. He was neglected and abused. He was starving and homeless. 

He’s also a genius.

As a reader I had so many emotions towards him. Anger, fear, sympathy….to name a few.

Here’s the kicker. As atrocious as his actions are…it’s something to really take your feelings out of and think about. Think real hard here.

Over population is a real issue with no real answer that is morally sound. Make a one child rule like China? Definitely not morally sound. Make people apply and qualify to have a child? Still not okay. Forced sterilization? Big moral issue!

So, what is the real answer here? Because we need one.

This book explores one of those options. It gives a haunting look into the repercussions of literally stealing someones reproductive rights. 

Art and Leeton are interesting characters. They are completely different people who get swept up into someone elses manipulation.  The whole plot line there is extremely clever and calculating. 

The disease is cleverly explained. The science terms used are technical but not overly so. It’s believability factor is high.

Each step of this book was carefully considered to get to the end result. I binge read the crap out of this book. I HAD to find out what happened.

You will never guess how it ends. I didn’t even come close to see it coming. I was totally blindsided. That’s a sure sign of a damn good writer.

I loved this book and would love to read more from this author.

I give this book the full 5 stars. It was sooo good.

5 stars

This book is available for purchase through Amazon. Click the title

“The Hydra”


 

The Technical Data:

Title: The Hydra | Author(s): Graham Stull |

Publisher: Ribbit Books / Publication Date: 4-15-2015 | Pages: 346 (Paperback) |ISBN: 9780993265006 | Genre(s): Political Thriller | Language:English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-25-2015 | Source: Copy From Author

Children’s Book Review “Jesper Jinx” by Marko Kitti

Summary from Goodreads:

Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

In this first book of Jesper Jinx’s wonderfully wicked adventures you’re going to meet Jesper’s family and Snowy the Cat.

Also, there’s a mysterious new classmate with a moustache. And it’s up to Jesper to launch his famous Boredom Breaker.

As Jesper so frequently says, ‘What harm would it do to have a little fun?’

Humorous middle grade fiction from author Marko Kitti.


 

This was a fun read. From the beginning the book is written like someone is talking to you. It has a very informal tone that I think would easily appeal to the target age for this book.

I especially liked the “form” the author asks the reader to sign. It’s a cute idea that gives the book a secretive appeal. Great idea to draw in readers.

The collection of stories are humorous and fun. Each one will have you laughing out loud at the antics of Jesper. He is a crafty fella. 

The stories are clever and witty. They have just the right amount of action, plot, description and pacing needed to grab a young kids attention. 

All in all the author did a great job. 

I grant this book the full 5 stars.

5 stars

This book is available for purchase through Amazon. Click the title

“Jesper Jinx”


The Technical Data:

Title: Jesper Jinx (Book 1) | Author(s): Marko Kitti |

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 4-27-2014 | Pages: 152 (Kindle) |ISBN: B00JZY5VJM | Genre(s): Middle Grade Humor Fiction | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-22-2015 | Source: Copy From Author

 

 

Book Review “Mondo Bohemiano” by Quentin J. Parker

Summary from Goodreads:

Is there life after having your heart destroyed? When ‘happily ever after’ crashes and burns?

In the shadow of losing the love of his life, one man attempts to salvage his soul. He is Nigel Q. Bunnytail. Twenty-something, artistic warrior prince, and sex fiend par excellence.
To accomplish this, he decides to leave behind the tainted trappings of his Philadelphia and his band of gifted friends, for the rustic charm of Spokane, Washington – and the white-haired therapist Sigrid Anderson, who can’t wait to either marry him or dissect him.
Whichever.

Mondo Bohemiano is a love and sex farce – sometimes funny, sometimes poignant – and maybe equally instructive on what to do as well as what to avoid.


 

This was a surprisingly fun read. I went into this book thinking it was going to be a tale lamenting the “one that got away” scenario. 

It was that…but much more.

The character names are on point. They are interesting and in many cases…downright funny. The slang and character description are flamboyantly unique. 

I LOVED this book.

Nigel Q. Bunnytail is everything his name promises. He is flashy and yet intellectual. He is flamboyant and yet subtle. He is caring and violent. He is wonderfully unique.

Amazingly well done.

The story itself is about picking your life up after it’s been torn to shreds. Lost love will and can destroy the best of us.

This was a hauntingly real look into what it’s like to step into the void after a long relationship. 

Because it’s not all sad. It’s not all “woe is me”. Life goes on. Friends make you laugh. Lemonade still tastes amazing. Chocolate is still delectable. We are still us, even when it feels like the best part of our lives is gone.

I look forward to reading more from this author. He has a unique voice for storytelling and I for one am hooked. 

I give this book the full 5 stars. 

5 stars

This book is available for purchase through Amazon. Click the title

Mondo Bohemiano

 

Stay Casual Bold people.

dino stamp of approval


 

 

The Technical Data:

Title: Mondo Bohemiano | Author(s): Quentin J. Parker |

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 6-4-2015 | Pages: 172 (Kindle) |ISBN: B00YYJT3L0 | Genre(s): Romantic Comedy | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-22-2015 | Source: Copy From Author

 

 

Why I’m voting for Bernie

Lets be honest with each other for a moment. How often have you looked at your sleeping child in the morning and wished you didn’t have to go spend 12+ hours away from them?

How often have you looked outside at the sinking sun and felt sad because you won’t get home before dark to play outside with your kid.

For my husband, this is everyday.

I want to talk about this particular meme because I feel that it really resonates with the working class. This meme is our life. 

I’m not at all against working. I realize we all play a role in society for it to function and the necessity of those roles. I also realize the necessity of money. Without it, we have nothing. No food. No water. No home. Nothing.

Here’s my problem. Why is most of our lives spent working? Shouldn’t the balance there be tipped a bit more in our favor? Shouldn’t we at least have some time to spend actually living? Shouldn’t we have some time to make memories?

Most of the people in the middle class are living paycheck to paycheck. Missing even one day of work can be devastating. With the constant increase in the price of housing, food, clothing ect… every single dollar we make matters. Pay increases are few and far between.

This meme brings about thoughts that those of us who work countless hours for very little pay try to push to the back of our brains. We try to focus on today and live for now. We are in survival mode.

That’s a damn shame if you ask me. Because this meme is real life. It is the cold hard truth.

Because tell me this, all those hours at work aren’t going to make you feel fulfilled when death is knocking on your door.

All those extra hours spent working to make someone else rich isn’t going to mean a damn thing when your body is broke down and you can’t even enjoy retirement.  

That is, if you can retire.

So, when your chance come’s to vote, vote in someone who is going to make a change for those of us who are tired of missing family events.

Vote in someone who knows what it is like to be broke.

Raise your voice and yell at anyone who will listen. Call this government on it’s bullshit.

Raise your voice for change. 

Be the reason our kids don’t have these struggles. Be the reason the next generation has healthcare and free college tuition. 

Stand up and be the person who can tell your kids that you did all you could to give them the best you could. That means changing policies. That means regulation.

This meme is the reason I’ll be voting for Bernie Sanders.