If you want to step back in time a great place to start is in Grand Rapids, Ohio, at Library House Books and Art.
This independently owned used bookstore is located only a short walk from the Maumee River.
Library House Books and Art isn't your average used bookstore. As you enter the shop with original hardwood floors you'll find a multifaceted collection of books, paintings, prints, and animals.
This is a store a bookworm, like me, loves. The atmosphere is delightful and the shelves are filled with inexpensive books.
For those of us who like to set and read a while, there are comfy velvet chairs at the front of the store, and there's a large wooden library table adorned with a lilac centerpiece just beyond the cash register.
While the store specializes in history, art, and poetry they also have a decent selection of all categories.
I found their children's section at the back of the store offers a treasure trove of colorful picture books and there's even a room off to the side that has a small table for children to sit around.
At Library House Books & Art the collection was filled with vintage and modern books and art and my purchases this beautiful spring day was a lovely collection of gardening books.
Once you have purchased your selections, the village itself is full of shops and galleries filled with unique gifts such as fine art, vintage clothing, and more bookshops.
There are restaurants where you can enjoy a sit-down meal or shops where you can purchase delectable treats of ice cream or old fashioned sauces and candies.
The village is also home to the Ludwig Mill. You can take a Canal boat manned by costumed workers and they'll provide you with details of the 1800's country river life.
“Everyone has a place in the world, and a purpose for their life. It’s not always easy to figure out what they are, but once you know, it changes everything.”
Purple Pup is a story of action, friendship, and suspense. If you enjoy stories that are told from an animal's perspective, this should be at the top of your reading list.
Purple Pup contains over 90 illustrations, created by artist Joshua Lagman. These images combined with Karl Steam’s fast paced storytelling have created a book that even reluctant readers will enjoy.
Most of you know I love canines having 4 of them myself.
It was interesting to read this story told from the animal's point of view.
This book offers a thought-provoking storyline.
Imagine having genetically altered animals with different coat colors and heightened senses.
Illustrated in black and white by Joshua Lagman this book will be great for discussions about the pro and cons of genetically modified animals as one can address the ability to understand and to imagine Lav and the other animals' experiences and why they don't want to live with humans.
This book was provided for review by the generosity of the author.
About the Author Karl Stream was previously a junior high school teacher, Karl is now the author of the Kids vs. Nature series. Other works include Purple Pup and How Santa Changed. He lives in the Upper Midwest, with his wife and four children.
Our Magnolia bloomed this month and April showers flooded many streets and highways throughout our area. We watched as authorities evacuated nearby neighborhoods by boat, muttering, "turn around, don't drown."
Not only has the heavy rain affected neighborhoods in town, but it's also affected farmers who are usually starting to get into their fields to plant. Due to the weather, it is now estimated that it will be the middle of May, or the first part of June before they can think about getting into the fields.
This has been another busy month with very little time for reading. I did make it to one library book sale to purchase these books to the left. You can read more about that here.
I read 3 books this month.
Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century.
I received this book and soon became swept up in this story of interlinked lives.
Smoothies and Juices is a book I picked up because I have been gravitating to blueberries with greek yogurt and chia seeds in the morning and thought many of the recipes looked delicious.
Journey to Mount Athos Greek and Russian Orthodox. I received a copy of this lovely memoir via Tiffany T. Cole on behalf of Thomas Jesse Roach. I enjoy exhibits of historic artifacts & relics, some exhibits include the Eucharist, relics, bishops and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and other items. I did enjoy this read.
The top 5 audience of April was from the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Ukraine.
Are you looking for a good buy and a great way to help out the library? Well, then you might check out a Library Book Sale.
The proceeds from a library book sale normally go towards supplementing a wide range of activities, this can include, Library materials and summer reading programs, charitable causes such as adult literacy programs, or purchases such as new furniture or computer equipment.
The library book sales I attend typically have tables of books stacked so the spine is readable and occasionally there will be magazines, CD's, DVDs and albums available too.
I like that these sales give me the opportunity to browse a selection of gently used interesting-looking books by writers that I may have not heard of before and sometimes I find a book I've been searching for - for a while.
Most of my trips have offed paperbacks at only 50¢ and hardcovers for a $1 but this spring I was able to purchase the collection of 8 books shown above for $3.00.
This Month's Top 10 audience has been from the United States, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Philippines and Sweden
Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century Lorene Carey Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (May 7, 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 0393635880 ISBN-13: 978-0393635881 Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
From cherished memories of weekends she spent as a child with her indulgent Nana to the reality of the year she spent “ladysitting” her now frail grandmother, Lorene Cary journeys through stories of their time together and five generations of their African American family. Brilliantly weaving a narrative of her complicated yet transformative relationship with Nana—a fierce, stubborn, and independent woman, who managed a business until she was 100—Cary looks at Nana’s impulse to control people and fate, from the early death of her mother and oppression in the Jim Crow South to living on her own in her New Jersey home.
Cary knew there might be some reckonings to come. Nana was a force: Her obstinacy could come out in unanticipated ways—secretly getting a driver’s license to show up her husband, carrying on a longtime feud with Cary’s father. But Nana could also be devoted: to Nana’s father, to black causes, and—Cary had thought—to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Facing the inevitable end raises tensions, with Cary drawing on her spirituality and Nana consoling herself with late-night sweets and the loyalty of caregivers. When Nana doubts Cary’s dedication, Cary must go deeper into understanding this complicated woman.
In Ladysitting, Cary captures the ruptures, love, and, perhaps, forgiveness that can occur in a family as she bears witness to her grandmother’s 101 vibrant years of life.
This year, I elected to read more memoirs so I was happy to receive the gift of Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century.
This well-written memoir provides a critical analysis of a family's history and a look at the life of a centenarian.
We see Carey's mind mapping of everyday interactions while providing an illustration of human growth, helped her observe and gather the information that assisted her in reacting to many of the situations that arose.
I soon became swept up in this story of interlinked lives.
In closing, I felt Carey's use of visible bodily actions to communicate open-hearted responses throughout the telling of this story were brilliant. This allowed me to recognize that Nana and family did not just shuffle through life, they paid great attention to what was going on at the moment.
About the Author Lorene Cary was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1956. In 11th grade, she enrolled in the formerly all-white, all-male St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. Cary tells the story in Black Ice, which reviewers have called “brutally honest” and “stunning.” Her first novel, The Price of a Child, fictionalized the story of a female fugitive from slavery and was selected in 2003 as the inaugural One Book, One Philadelphia choice. Cary’s other works include a girlfriend novel, Pride; FREE! Great Escapes from Slavery on the Underground Railroad, for young readers; and If Sons, Then Heirs, a family saga with love, land, and lynching at its center.
The founder of Art Sanctuary and SafeKidsStories.com has twice received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches Creative Writing. Cary wrote scripts for the videos at President’s House memorial on Independence Mall, and she has received the Philadelphia Award and six honorary doctorates.
I admit it. I like a healthy boost in the mornings and I often head to the counter to grab my Nutri Ninja to create a tasty smoothie.
So, it was with this in mind that I picked up this book at a used book store.
The content page drew my attention, as it lists fruits, vegetables and spices, and sweets and coffees.
Each recipe provides the method along with the amount per serving.
Lately, I have been gravitating to a mix of fruits or sometimes I just grab some blueberries, banana, greek yogurt with chia seeds. Not only are they a delicious blend, but they are also packed with vitamins and nutrients.
I enjoy interviewing author's as I often get to ask what prompts them to write a story. Some of the typical responses I've heard over the years are they use writing prompts such as;
What talents do you possess and how you use them?
Who inspired you or what inspires you and why?
Reflect on a memory you hold dear and share how has affected you and those close to you.
What have you, or someone close to you, faced, that you/ they would not want to face again?
Well, a while back I interviewed Joanne Pence and thought it worth sharing how she came up with a foundation for her Ancient Secrets series.
Joanne is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling author of the Angie Amalfi and Rebecca Mayfield mysteries as well as historical fiction, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, a fantasy, and supernatural suspense. Her novels present a variety of times, places, and reading experiences from mysterious to thrilling, emotional to lightly humorous, as well as powerful tales of times long past.
During my interview, I asked Joanne, how did you get the idea to write the Ancient Secrets series? I felt her process in writing the book series was enlightening.
Joanne responded; "I’ve written mysteries for many years, but I’ve always loved dark stories with supernatural and occult elements, so I decided to try writing such a book (and discovered that writing such stories differ greatly from writing mysteries). As a new resident of Idaho, I wanted to include something about the state and its history. The state is beautiful, but with large roadless areas that are extremely rugged. The explorers Lewis and Clark are well known throughout the Pacific Northwest, and many parts of Idaho mark their trail. I thought … what if there was a “secret expedition” following Lewis and Clark, and they vanished in the middle of Idaho, along the treacherous Salmon River which is known as “the River of No Return.” And, what if a group of university students, today, go to the same area and they vanish? What’s happening in the middle of Idaho?
Then, one day, I was going through a local used bookstore and I came across a strange book that reprinted the words of Nicholas Flamel, a French alchemist (yes, he was mentioned in the Harry Potter stories), who claimed to find a book called The Book of Abraham the Jew that told him how to create gold. That find began my interest in alchemy.
I put the two together, and the result is Ancient Echoes, which begins in Mongolia and Israel, and then moves to Idaho.
After writing that book, I decided to continue with my main character, Michael Rempart, an archeologist. I’ve always been fascinated by tales of the “Old Silk Road” that crossed most of Asia into China. Marco Polo used it. Added to that, I learned of an ancient Chinese story about a goddess who was insulted by an emperor who, when he saw a beautiful statue of her, was more than a little risqué in his comments. She turned into a demon in the guise of a woman to “get even.” It’s a fascinating story. Throw in alchemy, and the result is Ancient Shadows. I now had a series.
Book 3 has Michael Rempart facing a different sort of demon in his family’s history, plus a journey to Japan spurred on by the ghost stories of a century-old writer named Lafcadio Hearn. In Ancient Illusions, the reader learns a lot more about Michael, his family, and why he is the way he is."
This weeks Top 10 Audience is from
The United States, Ukraine, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Sweden, and Portugal.
As my book blog has grown to include many different countries, I receive a lot of queries about advanced reading copies from publishers and author/agents from around the world. As someone who reads a lot of Indie authors, I also receive a lot of queries about debut novels.
So, it may be no surprise to you that I am turning away more books now that I care to admit. This is difficult for me as I am aware that I'm losing the opportunity to read many amazing stories. Perhaps a story as good, as the one, in the image above.
I am stating this to let authors know that a rejection should never put one off of writing or trying to get their work out there.
If you are trying to obtain a review for your book, I like it when the title and author are listed in the subject line of the email. It makes it easier for me to track it. Beyond that, here is the typical anatomy of the queries I see:
Introduction as to why you are contacting Lori's Book Loft?
A synopsis of your book.
The publisher, ISBN, & publication date.
Formats available - i.e. picturebook, paperback, hardcover, ebook format (which ones?)
Provide links to the publisher’s website and your website.
Social media links - such as youtube book trailers.
If you have tried all these and do not receive a response my only suggestion would be to recognize that book reviewers receive many queries, possibly thousands per day and perhaps they've not had a chance to check out your query yet as they are busy reading.
A rejection may just mean that you need to change things up in your query and present it at another time.
To those who come here to read my reviews. I typically schedule myself time to read and when I sit down to write a review, I like to think of things I find interesting about a book. This is generally personable and might not be to everyone's liking but I don't struggle with the thought of writing something that is different, as my writing is sincere.
Most of my audience knows Feedspot notified me that Lori's Book Loft made the Top 100 Book Review Blogs from thousands of top Book Review blogs in their index using their search and social metrics. I also recently got word that Lori's Book Loft is now on RankedBlogs.com list of top book review blogs. This is thanks to you who read this blog!
To those that have written asking, do I talk about books - the answer is yes, to my family and close friends I gush in detail about the books I've read.
A young men's fellowship group is formed in Joliet, IL, in 1987. The four college students and a young professor began reading Greek and Russian Orthodox books on aestheticism and plan to visit Mount Athos, a peninsula in Northern Greece devoted to monastic communities and still governed under Byzantine law. The first half of the book describes the misadventures of the boys as they perform clean-up operations at Greek food festivals in the Chicago area to raise money. Finally, miraculously, they are able to fly to Greece. The second half of their adventure takes them through the churches of Thessaloniki and Mount Athos. This account was written one chapter at a time and read to the group as they continued to meet through 1988. It is an accurate account of their experiences, although decidedly from the author's perspective. The descriptions, history, and views of Christian Orthodoxy presented here reflect the groups perceptions of the Church and are not intended to be in any way authoritative.
This week I turned on the television and saw the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, aware that each ancient beam of the cathedral attic's wooden frame was made from an individual tree that for many years protected artifacts and religious relics.
One can only imagine how difficult this was for those fighting the blaze, knowing that at the start of Holy Week this Cathedral, on a small island called Île de la Cité, housed the crown of thorns.
I was elated to hear the crown was recovered and to view the image of the cross still standing.
It's at this time, I opted to read a memoir that speaks of a small wooden cross that led author Thomas Jesse Roach on a Journey t0 Mount Athos.
I was captivated by the places visited and experiences encountered by a small group of adventurous young men who met for dinner throughout Great Lent.
These men had hopes that their simple plans would be carried out. As often happens, the intricate became complicated, and they subsequently find themselves putting into effect a flea market plan- sweeping asphalt with push brooms, to pay for their tickets.
This story blends a backdrop of trips through the churches of Thessaloniki and Mount Athos. While voices boom throughout the empty cathedral, they are invited to tea by the priest and pay reverence to Holy Icons on poorly lit walls.
Along the journey, the group takes risks. Their quest is a spot on the Mountain, and it leads them to discover significant fragments of sacred history.
In closing, this memoir makes a compelling read with great use of symbolism. The intimate writing style intices the reader to the very end and teaches that faith and sacrifice do lead to something of great value.
I received a copy of this lovely memoir via Tiffany T. Cole on behalf of Thomas Jesse Roach.
About the Author
Thomas Jesse Roach Dr. Roach has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and English and Master of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University. His dissertation on the American news media received a national Dissertation of the Year Award from the Speech Communication Association in 1994.
Dr. Roach was an assistant editor for Star Publications and managing editor of the Romeoville-Bolingbrook Beacon. He served as Media Coordinator of Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and Corporate Director of Internal Communication for Carson Pirie Scott. Today he is president of Thomas Roach and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in public opinion research, news media strategies, advertising, and employee communication. Former clients include Jones Lang LaSalle, LaSalle Bank, Amoco and the Ford Motor Company. He served as message strategist on several political campaigns, including two congressional races.