Monday, February 25, 2019

Quote of the Day

Romance without finance don't stand a chance. - Anonymous 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Review: The Future Has A Past by J. California Cooper

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Book Title: The Future Has A Past
Book Author: J. California Cooper
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Public Library

My first exposure to J. California Cooper was in 2011. Life at this time for me seemed plagued with misfortune and sadness. Nothing appeared to be going right. I was going through a horrible divorce. At this time, reading was my best escape. I read about as much then as I did as a child.

I transferred to Wingfield High School for the Spring Semester. One day, my duty assigned included an extended period in the library. I decided to grab a random book off the shelf. I chose the book, A Piece of Mine, by J. California Cooper. Before getting the book off the shelf, J. California Cooper's work was unfamiliar to me. I am so glad that I was exposed to her then. I have read quite a few of her books and just can't put them down. Her storytelling skills demonstrated in. her books leave you feeling like your grandmother just gave you a wealth of knowledge that you need to store for later.
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Recently, things have been kind of difficult for me, and I felt that I needed a J. California Cooper book to make me feel better. So, I made a special trip to the library to find a book that I haven't read by J. California Cooper. My library did not have any of her books, and I was so disappointed. However, I requested two books from other libraries in the county system.  

When I received my notice, I raced to the library to get my book. The librarian informed me that the books were not on the shelf. I am working on being patient and not easily irritated, but I couldn't help it. I needed these books. I needed to feel better. I wanted the books. She only found one of the books in the back. Was someone trying to save my books for a friend? These books are not popular books, but still, I was surprised. So that day, I only walked away with The Future Has a Past. I had to wait for the other one to arrive. 

I often do not like reading short stories because sometimes I become so engulfed in a story that I am filled with disappointment when it stops, usually before I am ready for it to finish. Yet, J. Califonia Cooper's short stories are well worth the read. The Future Has a Past is a collection of four short stories that illuminate how true love can happen when you least expect it and no matter what you have experienced in your past.

"You got to watch life, cause it's moving all the time, every minute!"

The first story, The Shooting Star, is full of the reality that if children aren't given love as a child, they spend their adult life searching and suffering for that same love. Lorene's life and its quick demise remind you of how people can recognize your weaknesses and prey on you.

"Learn a little about what love is."

A Filet of Soul is the second short story in The Future Has a Past. Luella's gullibility to Silki is probably a familiar story to some many women. Everyone else could see Silki as the crook he was, but Luella's inexperience and desire to feel important and loved by someone blinded her from the truth. Even though she paid tremendously, there was a ram in the bush for her. Silki's departure was the best thing to happen to Luella. She would have never met Sidney.

"She just working herself to death for them useless grown kids of hers."

The story, The Eagle Flies, is about Vinnie. She is a single mother, who has spent her entire life being overworked to support her children. Even though her children are adults and living their own lives, Vinnie continues to sacrifice her needs and to overwork herself. Her blind desire to support her adult children conceals how much her children are taking advantage of her.

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"We have a whole life apart from you and you didn't think enough of use to look and see it."

The final story, The Lost and Found, is about Irene. She is a single mother of two boys. The surprising ending tickled my soul. Witnessing the demise of a womanizing arrogant man at the hands of the only woman, who truly loved him, gave me great pleasure. I won't give away the details, but I would recommend that you read it to see how this story unfolds.

I must say this book gave me just what I needed. When I finished it, I could not help but be pleased. I smiled and held it closely, while silently thanking her for sharing her talents with us. I am grateful.

The wisdom etched within the lines of this text will make you want to write it down, agree with it, tweet it, and appreciate it. J. California Cooper's books appeal to every type of reader, especially one who enjoys a good story. I wished that I would have gotten to meet her or even the chance to listen to her.  Check out the YouTube video above to see who J. California Cooper was.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book Review: Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan

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Book Title: Cast No Shadow
Book Author: Brandon Dragan
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I am long overdue for posting book reviews, but I am steadily getting on track with catching up on my reading. Adjusting to teaching full time has been both challenging and rewarding. I am excited about sharing this first book review in the month of February. Perhaps the excitement stems from the fact that my birthday is tomorrow. Who knows!? I hope you enjoy this book, as much as I did.

Cast No Shadow surprisingly presents a fascinating short story filled with excitement and action. The short story is a tale about Beau, who happens to be an undercover vigilante. Think modern day Robin Hood. He unexpectantly invades criminal operations and takes their money, while destroying the operation from being functional.  

The love affair between Beau and his wife, Annabelle, quickly reminds of Erykah Badu songs "Other Side of the Game" and "Danger." Even though Annabelle recognizes the flaws in his occupation, she supports him because she loves him. The couple has one son, Cal, whom Beau shows how a father should act. 

After the most recent rendezvous, Beau becomes a little paranoid. His paranoia impacts his ability to function as a "normal person." As a result, his family does not know how to interpret his unusual behavior. When one of his colleagues becomes hospitalized, and another commits suicide/murder,  Beau instructs his wife to pack up the family. Before they can leave, the plot thickens unpredictably.  Then, the Cast No Shadow ends.

I rated Cast No Shadow 4 out of 5 stars because of the ending. The ending leaves you wanting more. I enjoyed reading the book and like the uniqueness of Dragan's writing style, which is different from what I am accustomed to reading, even as an English professor. This book is ideal for individuals, who like action thrillers. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read Cast No Shadow for free. 

Book Blurb: Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

For more information about Brandon Dragan and his work, visit his website: 

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