the dust of hope: rune poems by Judy Croome 


About the book:
Judy Croome’s latest collection of poetry returns to the ancient ways of the Nordic runes, shining a light of hope and healing as we navigate through the wilderness of anxiety permeating these early years of the twenty-first century.

The simple verses console the reader with a calm acceptance that, even during a global pandemic, everyday life ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of the timeless oceans.

Here are poems that invite us to stop, to breathe, and to see the world around us from a new perspective birthed within the centre of our souls.

My thoughts:
Hello everyone. Today I am taking part in the virtual tour for Judy Crume’s collection of poetry entitled the dust of hope. This is a collection of poems about everyday life, love and loss during the pandemic.

I really liked one called “Strength”.
“only then, in the shadows of heartbreak,
did I learn how to dive deep.
how to survive.”


There’s a rune symbol at the start of each poem and I found this to be a lovely and soothing collection. I savored these as I read a few per day. I really enjoyed these poems that so many of us can relate to.

perhaps the corona storm,
with all its violent destruction,
is only planting
the seeds of a new generation.”-ploughing the fields


“I met my soul
walking the path of solitude.
separated from you
by an invisible virus,
as powerful as a wrecking ball
free-falling
through the ceiling of our lives.”- between two moments

I recommend this collection if you enjoy poetry and are looking to get swept away by reading a few good poems.


Judy Croome is on virtual tour, click here for the rest of tour schedule.


Special thanks to Poetic Book Tours for my review copy of the dust of hope by Judy Croome.


About the Author:


Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post (USA) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. In 2021 and 2016, Judy was the poetry judge for Writers2000’s Annual Writing Competition. In 2021, Judy presented an hour long workshop to Writers 2000 called “The Gift of Poetry”.

Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

Her fiction and poetry books ‘the dust of hope: rune poems” (2021); “Drop by Drop: poems of loss” (2020); “a stranger in a strange land” (2015),”The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available from Aztar Press.

“Street Smart Taxpayers: A practical guide to your rights in South Africa” (Juta Law, 2017) was co-authored with her late husband Dr. Beric Croome (1960 – 2019). Follow her on GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah



source: purchased
title: The Great Alone
author: Kristin Hannah
genre: fiction
published: 2018
pages: 448
first line: That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

my thoughts:

I have to start my review off by mentioning I’m slightly obsessing over author Kristin Hannah’s books now after this one and I plan on reading more. After reading The Four Winds last year I quickly ordered The Great Alone. It has taken me several months to get to this one but I was up past midnight this weekend reading I was so hooked. At the center of the story is 13 year old Leni Allbright and her parents Ernt and Cora. Ernt is a Vietnam POW. This family of three is dysfunctional to begin with and Ernt is an alcoholic and abusive towards his wife and he now suffers from PTSD. When his late war buddy leaves him a house in remote Alaska, Ernt packs the family up to live off the grid. Why on Earth the wife Cora would agree to move to the middle of nowhere with little planning and next to nothing but the clothes on their backs with an abusive alcoholic husband who also sufferers from PTSD is beyond me but off they go. Ernt promises that the Alaskan setting will help him be better. This almost reminded me of The Shining.

Once in Alaska, the Allbright’s meet the locals and settle into life off the grid and harsh climate living. As the years pass and Leni gets into her teen years she falls in love with a local boy. She sees her parents differently as a young adult and wonders if her mother can ever have the strength to leave her abusive marriage.

Now, as I said, I was hooked late into the night reading this one. Kristin Hannah has a way of drawing you in with her writing. However, as much as I enjoyed this book I also had a few qualms with it. Firstly Ernt. His character seemed underdeveloped. Why was he physically abusive to his wife? It’s hinted at that this was going on before he left to Vietnam so why? We know nothing about his background. Secondly, Cora. Why was she so weak? I wanted to scream at her while reading. She seemed to have a twisted lovesick teenage relationship with Ernt. Often times they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and didn’t care who was around. Cora’s parents are in the story but again there is nothing explaining why she clings to an abusive husband.

The first 200 pages or so were riveting, I loved reading about the Alaskan landscape and was curious to see where the story would go once the Allbright’s settled into their cabin in the middle of nowhere. I find that this author is great with writing the settings in her stories and The Great Alone was no different. Then the story started to drag a little but I saw that the author was setting things up for the latter half of the book which picked right back up again. I liked Leni’s character alot. This was a coming of age story for her. I liked seeing her realize how toxic her parents are and that that she decided to take a different path. This is also a story about mothers and daughters and the bonds between women. The book took many twists and turns and I was stunned, I teared up, I was on the edge of my seat while reading. This would make a great mini-series.

So while I had a few issues with the story I was still up late into the night reading even though I had to be up early for work the next morning. I’ve already ordered The Nightingale because this author has a way of pulling at my emotions with her stories. What grabbed my attention most about this book was Leni and the bond she had with her mother.

“In the naivete of her youth, her parents had seemed like towering presences, omnipotent and all-knowing. But they weren’t that; they were just two broken people.” -p.249, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

“Such a thin veil separated the past from the present; they existed simultaneously in the human heart”. – p. 433 The Great Alone

About the author:
Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week.-quoted from Amazon

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

1984 by George Orwell



source: purchased
title: 1984
author: George Orwell
published: 1949
genre: dystopian science fiction
pages: 328
first line: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
rated: An interesting classic.

blurb:
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever…

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.


my thoughts:

1984 is usually on assigned reading lists in high school and I’ve read Animal Farm by this author but not this one until now. My daughter had not read this either so dystopian fiction currently being one of her favorite genres, she selected it for us to co-read. She loved it and breezed through it. I found somewhat hard to get through at times but at other times I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Written in 1949, 1984 is set in a dystopian future in the year near or about 1984. No one can be certain of the exact date or year because the government A.K.A. the Party controls everything. Narrated by 39 year old Winston, this is a bleak world where there are constant reminders everywhere that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. People do not have freedom, the past and history itself continue to be re-written again and again as ordered by the government so no one is truly certain of what has or will happen.

It is Winston’s government assigned job, to write “fake news”. This is a gloomy existence and you can see it on people’s faces, people are not happy or healthy. They live in a world with no joy, may sitting at computers working for hours on end. People are constantly being watched and reported for the slightest thing so that many people just go missing or “vanish” if found guilty of something such as free thought. Your sole existence and purpose is to serve the Party.

Winston thinks for himself and wants change. The story centers around his risking his life in order to see if change possible. He wants to find out if there are others like him. He struggles to remember his life as a child before the current situation and realizes how muddy his memory is since past events are always being re-told by the Party and are ever-changing. I found this part of the story hopeful, that Winston strives for change knowing the change will not occur in his lifetime but for future generations.

The book is separated into 3 sections and are no chapter breaks in 1984. I didn’t like this because it gave a sense of disorientation throughout the story but I can see why the author did this. It adds to the oppressiveness of the storyline.

Having written this in 1949 Orwell was ahead of his time and eerily hit the mark on some of his predictions. Big Brother does watch us at all times and we can be easily tracked without even realizing it. Reminds me of our smartphones and the apps on there, all of which ask for tracking permission. Most people are walking around like zombies, brainwashed into serving the Party whether they like it or not. Overall I found this to be a dark and interesting read (warning) about government, power and a bleak future that somehow seems plausible in several ways. I was surprised at the ending and found that Orwell made his point. I’m glad I finally read 1984.

I’ll close with a few favorite quotes:
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” ― George Orwell, 1984

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

About the author:
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.-quoted from Goodreads

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Later by Stephen King


source: purchased
title: Later
author: Stephen King
published: March 2, 2021
pages: 264
genre: crime fiction/paranormal horror first line: I don’t like to start with an apology-there’s probably even a rule against it, like never ending a sentence with a preposition-but after reading over the thirty pages I’ve written so far, I feel like I have to.
rated:
5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:

SOMETIMES GROWING UP MEANS FACING YOUR DEMONS

The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine—as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.

LATER is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel It, LATER is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.


My thoughts:

Out of the hundred or so books on my TBR I randomly grabbed my copy of Later by Stephen King and wound up nearly finishing it in one sitting this past Sunday.

Although this is advertised as one of his hard case crime books like Joyland and The Colorado Kid I’d say Later is more a mix of coming of age story, horror and a paranormal ghost story. Inside this book were some of the creepiest scenes I’ve read and I’ve read a decent amount of horror over the years.

The story centers around young Jamie Conklin who lives in NYC with his single mother who is a literary agent. Adult Jamie narrates his story. He has an ability that sets him apart. Without giving too much away, the book revolves around Jamie and his mom while his unique gift is at times an odd blessing in disguise but also a curse. King has a way of writing child characters who are endearing to the reader and I was rooting for Jamie as I read. The story is really mainly about him.

Reminiscent of the film The Sixth Sense Later was an engaging and thrilling story that I found hard to put down. There’s nods to It in the storyline and the creepy plot twisted and turned and shocked me more than once. I also enjoyed the NYC setting. While I read some mixed reviews on this one, I really enjoyed it. I was entertained throughout and nearly finished it in one sitting which is what I expect from a good book. This was a solid scary read and I recommend it to fans of paranormal horror. It was not too long at just a little over 250 pages so it was a nice quick dose of horror during a busy week.

“I thought of asking her if it freaked her out to look up at night and see the stars and know they go on forver and ever, but didn’t bother. I just said no. You get used to marvelous things. You take them for granted. You can try not to but you do. there’s too much wonder, that’s all. It’s everywhere.-p 90, Later by Stephen King

About the author:
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.

King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game and It.

King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine. -quoted from Amazon.com

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of Later by Stephen King. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The first book photo here is my own.

Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger



source: review copy via Poetic Book Tours
title: Your Words Your World
author: Louise Bélanger
genre: poetry
published: July 2, 2021
pages: 99


About:

Poetry For Your Soul – Stunning Photographs
Zoom to Heaven
The most beautiful love poem
Where God is not there
Promises…
A handful of cloud
Clowns…
During the night

These are some of the titles of the poetry you will read in this beautiful, inspiring collection complemented by captivating nature photographs.

Read poems about God and having a relationship with Him. Poems about trust, missing a loved one, childhood memories, Christmas, Heaven, Easter…

Other poems are lovely stories, the length of a page.
The poetry is easy to understand. It is for everyone whether poetry is your genre or not, you will enjoy it.

Advance Praise:

There are a number of 5-star reviews on Amazon, including this one: “Your Words, Your World is a beautiful collection of poetry, photographs, and story poems about God and the world He created, and the second book of poems by Louise Bélanger. It helps the reader look at the world in a new way. Among my favorite poems is Ordinary, about how God can take something ordinary, like a star or a body of water, and make it do extraordinary things. I also loved Dust, which reminds us that God created us all from something we don’t really like–dust. A War Erupted paints a beautiful and tumultuous picture of a thunderstorm. The Contest is a thought-provoking story poem about a conversation between flowers. Zoom to Heaven is probably my favorite of all, as it talks about what it would be like to have a Zoom conversation with a loved one in Heaven. Your Words, Your World takes a unique look at God and the world He created, and it makes me appreciate Him and this world all the more.” – BonnieD


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My thoughts:
Your Words Your World by Louise Bélanger is a lovely collection of poetry and the author’s photography. The poems are mainly about God and how everything He created like the clouds, fire, the ocean and the flowers are extraordinary if you stop to think about it. These inspirational and spiritual poems are also about living your life with intent and having faith in pursuing your dreams. I’m a big believer in living with intent so this theme resonates with me. The pretty nature photography throughout adds a nice touch as you read the collection. I recommend this one if you enjoy spiritual poetry about everyday life.

One of my favorites in the collection is titled “I Want”
I want…
Creativity
To explode on the page

Stories and images
Invading my head

To crack open my heart
So it flows from the page


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“God lifts the veil”

Life can be so difficult
Keep planting, in faith
It always produces a good harvest
Whether you see it or not


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About the Poet:

Louise Bélanger is a Canadian poet and the author of Your Words Your World and Your Words. Both books are beautiful, inspiring, and spiritual poems complemented by nature photographs. She started writing poetry in the spring of 2020. She poured her emotions onto paper, describing beautiful scenery and stories that came to life. With encouragement and help from friends, her dream came true. She loves photography and music, is an avid reader, and loves movies. Visit her website.

Available at Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Dec. 3: the bookworm (Review)

Dec. 6: The Book Connection (Review)

Dec. 15: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)

Jan. 5: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)

Jan. 11: Just A Bookish Blog (Review)

Jan. 18: Christian Bookaholic (Review)

Jan. 19: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

Jan. 25: Author Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

Feb. 8: The Mary Reader and Instagram (Review)

Feb. 10: Savvy Verse & Wit (Interview)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtags #yourwordsyourworld #LouiseBélanger #poetrycommunity


Click here for the main tour page.


Special thanks to Serena at Poetic Book Tours — Where Readers Come to Poetry
@PoeticBookTours
Poetic Book Tours on Facebook



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Your Words Your World came via Poetic Book Tours
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