Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Friendship, Veterans, & Men’s Health.

I met Bob Tierno a few months ago at a book reading at my friend Dave’s shop in Fair Oaks, California.  Jon Obyermeyer (writer/poet) had recommended I come to the event. I’m glad I went.

Today, on Veteran’s Day, I feel honored to feature two books by Bob Tierno.

I just started reading the memoir “Letters in a Helmet.”  I love the concept of this story. We all have those friends who, no matter how much time, or how much distance, we always pick up where we left off. Shared histories and shared souls bring it all together.

Letters in a Helmet

by Ron Sorter and Bob Tierno  

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A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood is a sweeping tale of two men, covering five decades of friendship and brotherhood. What elevates this story is a profound, interlocking bond that carries Delta Kappa Epsilon (“Deke”) fraternity brothers Ron Sorter and Bob Tierno across a transformative landscape of military service, career transitions, marriages, war wounds, cancer battles and bereavement. The immaturity of their youthful antics is followed immediately by the accelerated maturity of early adulthood, and later on, the accumulation of wisdom as they enter their eighth decade of life. This is an inspiring chronicle of American life, bridging the 20th and 21st centuries with this enduring mantra: “your brothers are always there for you.”

Letters in a Helmet, A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood  Now Available (10/3/2019} in Amazon Books .

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My second book choice is something completely different. Listen up guys – this is about PROSTATE CANCER. This is IMPORTANT. There is a myth out there that Prostate Cancer is slow and won’t kill you. I stress the word myth. Prostate Cancer WILL kill you. Luckily the test is EASY. Just a simple blood test once a year. I know people who’ve tested and gotten it taken care of early (and still have great sex lives.) I also knew those who did not get it taken care of and are no longer with us because of that. The choice is yours. On the other hand it isn’t all yours if you think of your wife, your children, your friends. If you don’t do it for yourself then do it for them.

The Prostate Chronicles – A Medical Memoir: Detours and Decisions following my Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

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“I know not all that may be coming, but be it will, I’ll go laughing.” Herman Melville, Moby DickFrankly, most books on prostate cancer like this are boring and predictable, with an over-emphasis on the medical aspect. This book is irreverent and, therefore different. It sheds light on my journey and speaks to how relationships matter. Men generally don’t like to talk about their prostate because of its impact on their ego (sex life) and quality of life (incontinence). Life as they knew it is “over,” not acknowledging that their life already sucked thanks to their prostate as in always asking for an aisle seat near the restroom. As in always looking for the nearest bathroom at events, and of course, not enjoying that favorite cup of joe if a toilet was more than an hour away. You do have several options when diagnosed with prostate cancer, but frankly, they all suck. Despite numerous downside implications, there is the outcome that you live to see another five, fifteen or twenty years. Having that definitive end-of-life conversation with my urologist was sobering. Whether you are a man or a significant other, prostate cancer is steady part of our health lexicon today. If you’re lucky enough to live to eighty, you’ll most likely encounter this disease.I think of prostate cancer as a detour in my life in my late 60s, something I would not have asked for by any means. If you happen to have prostate cancer, you’re not totally, FUBAR, (Fouled Up Beyond All Repair). Okay, maybe a just little bit. At least you won’t ever again have to hear your urologist say “Bend over here it comes again!”Ella Wheeler said in her famous poem Solitude, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.”Prostate cancer sucks, but you stand a better chance of coping if you have humor on your side. I’m choosing to take a humorous approach because it’s freaking healthy and because I can and that is what you will find in this book. My life has been a series of exciting eras, all of them fueled by my love of experiencing new challenges. I’m knowledgeable about many things, which I can now add prostate cancer and robotic surgery. Not my first choice, but it does make the list of my expertise longer. ~ Bob Tierno

The Prostate Chronicles- A Medical Memoir Now available on Amazon Books in paperback and Kindle E-Book.

Articles: ProstateCancer.net

https://prostatecancer.net/living/staying-active-during-recovery/

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Halfborn. Horror from Soleil Daniels.

If you’re looking for an exceptionally well written, smart, and original horror story (I stress the horror part) add Halfborn by Soleil Daniels to your reading list.

I’ve just started reading Halfborn. I’ve read many of Soleil’s short stories – and I am always entertained, and simply in awe of her writing.

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Halfborn

It should have been simple. Easy.

She had done it a thousand times. A flick of the pocketknife. A slice from the blade. A trickle of hot blood on her tongue. Filling her mouth. That is how it should have been.

Instinctually, it was both . . . Oh, so simple as she pounced on the man across the room from her . . . and unbelievably easy as her teeth sliced into the side of his neck.

But it was different.

Animalistic.

And that bite would change Coral’s life . . .

Forever.

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I drew gulp after gulp of whiskey-tainted life past my lips. My head began to dizzy, whether from the new bond forming, the alcohol-saturated blood, or from simply consuming too much blood, I wasn’t sure. I withdrew from my lock on his neck. Blood ran down onto his once-white shirt, turning a copper color as the crimson mixed with the brown-gray stains from dirt and who knew what else. I stared for a moment, then I reached over, placed one hand on his right temple and the other just behind his left ear. I turned his head with a quick, swift movement, and with the snap of his neck, the dizziness in my head subsided.

Halfborn
Soleil Daniels

Note: Halfborn is for mature readers only. It contains violent and sexual content. These are not vamps for the kiddos. They bite, kill, and do very adult and monstrous things.

“HALFBORN is beautifully done. Soleil Daniels writes in the moment which places you right in the action. From chapter one she builds up intense emotion and passion. The twists in this book are amazing. HALFBORN is written in first person, which is usually a little harder to pull off, and she does it flawlessly. Marshall begins his journey as a laid-back gentleman which is a great pair for Soleil’s main character Coral. Their character development brings the reader to the edge of emotional tolerance. The emotions felt real and the dialog flows very well. We cannot wait until her sequel WRAITH comes out!

We at NeoLeaf Press give this book our Gold Recommendation and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.”

–Neoleaf Press LLC

Soleil Daniels is a writer from the Central Florida area. She enjoys creating new worlds with her imagination and bringing them to life. All while hoping to share them with those who enjoy reading, giving them an outlet from their everyday lives.
Soleil prefers writing on the darker side of the fiction spectrum—dark fantasy, horror, bloody, grim, and/or just plain sad. Also, her works are, more often than not, written for mature audiences.

Find more on her blog at: RANDOM WRITINGS OF A WOEBEGONE WRETCH

Soleil has contributed to WPaD anthologies, and has also published several books, which can be found at Amazon.com:

Other Books by and featuring the work of Soleil Daniels:

Looking for more spooky reading? Check out WPaD Publications‘ horror anthology, Creepies 3: Nightmares on Deviant Street. Currently on free promo until the 1st of November. Includes stories from WPaD Authors Mandy White, Diana Garcia (Author), Marla Todd, Michael Haberfelner , David Hunter , Mike Cooley , Soleil Daniels, Lea Anne Guettler, Debra Lamb, and more.

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I’ll be back next Monday for more new books, and something completely different.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Stories for the Holidays (from Arbor Day to Christmas, to Halloween to Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and more)

The end of the year holiday season is here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, then on to a new year with even MORE holidays.

To get you in the mood I recommend the following holiday themed anthologies. The stories range from hilarious. to sentimental, to frightening, to romantic, and more.

Both books are great for someone wanting a quick fix, a new tradition, or just a damn good story. Did I mention cheap thrills?

These are from the creative minds of WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants.) Proceeds to to MS Research to help support our fellow writers and friends who have MS.

Both books are available on Amazon, B&N, and with other online book sellers. Both are available in digital and paperback versions.

 

Tinsel Tales

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Experience the holidays through our eyes…
the magic, the memories, some warm and some bittersweet…
in this treasury of holiday-themed stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD.

Tinsel Tales 2: Holiday Hootenanny

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It’s a Holiday Hootenanny! In this anthology, you will find more than just Christmas stories. WPaD is proud to present our favorite fiction from holidays all year round, from Halloween to Arbor Day, ranging from sentimental to a bit on the dark side. An entertaining read for any season.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Cute and Confused

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

Today I’m featuring a serial blog book: Vlad’s Vampire Diary. It is free. It is right here. It is fun. A lot of fun.

Vlad’s Vampire Diary

After being trapped in a crypt for three hundred years, Vlad the fierce and powerful Vampire King is now learning how to live in the modern world, and learn the true meaning of the word “cute.”

Keep checking back for more installments. Click on the links below for read the entire riveting story. And yes, put down your coffee or you’ll spit on the screen.

Vampire Diary

#1. Vampire Diary: The Beginning

#2. Vampire Diary: Intervention

#3. Vampire Diary: Game Day

#4. Vampire Diary: Feeling Alive

#5. Vampire Diary: Blood Red

#6. Vampire Diary: Embroiled in a Dream (and still cute)

#7. Vampire Diary: Something I do Understand

#8. Vampire Diary: Modern Worlds

#9. Vampire Diary: White Wedding

#10. Vampire Diary: Under the Beautiful Skye

#11. Vampire Diary: Connections

#12. Vampire Diary: The Black Sock Mystery

#13. Vampire Diary: Sharp Dressed Man

#14. Vampire Diary: Resolutions

#15. Vampire Diary: Man in the Red Suit

#16. Vampire Diary: Politics As Usual

#17. Vampire Diary: The Twilight Zone of Love

#18. Vampire Diary: Old Dogs, New Tricks, and Politics

#19. Vampire Diary: Eat Me Up

#20. Vampire Diary: In My Youth

#21. Vampire Diary: Modern Technology

#22. Vampire Diary: Dye Vampire Dye

#23. Vampire Diary: Music to My Ears

#24. Vampire Diary: Two Lips in the Middle of the Night

#25. Vampire Diary: Fangs Giving

#26. Vampire Diary: Drive Me Nuts

#27. Vampire Diary: It will be fun

#28. Vampire Diary: Shelf Critter Theater (Winner of the 2017 Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever)

#29. Vampire Diary: Music To My Ears (Broken Record Edition)

#30. Vampire Diary: Hot Mess

#31. Vampire Diary: Hot and Cold

#32. Vampire Diary: Love Letters

#33. Vampire Diary: Power and Tools

#34. Vampire Diary: Fortunes and Cookies

#35. Vampire Diary: Protecting the Cuteness

#36. Vampire Diary: Frankenstein

#37. Vampire Diary: Modern Knowledge

#38. Vampire Diary: Queer Eye for the Vampire Guy

#39: Vampire Diary: Bodice Ripping Fight Night

#40: Vampire Diary: You Can’t Go Home Again

#41: Vampire Diary: Whispering

#42: Vampire Diary: My Undead Life

#43: Vampire Diary: Jingle Bells

#44: Vampire Diary: Modern Problems

#45: A Squirrel Walked into a Bar

#46: Vampire Diary: Culture

#47: Vampire Diary: April’s Fool

#48: Vampire Diary: Mysteries

#48: Vampire Diary: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

#49: Vampire Diary: Man of Steel

#50: Vampire Diary: Stories Old and New

#51: Vampire Diary: Cats, Confusion, and Chainsaws

#52: Vampire Diary: Fall

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: A Trio of Escapes – Fiction, Travel, Poetry

Under Currents

By Nora Roberts

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I’m currently reading Under Currents.

I’ve been reading books by Nora Roberts for years. I’ve loved her stand alone books. I’ve loved the trilogies. The books in the J.D. Robb In Death Series are my absolute favorites.

This one is different. Below is the official description but that doesn’t describe this book completely. I had a difficult time reading the first few chapters. The descriptions of violence and brutal child abuse were graphic and disturbing. Sure, I read a lot of horror but this was beyond that. I’m not saying don’t read it. Stories of abuse need to be told. Stories of surviving need to be told. Stories of overcoming such horrors need to be told.

Do I like the book? So far so good. I’m still reading. That’s a beautiful thing.

Official Description: For both Zane and Darby, their small town roots hold a terrible secret. Now, decades later, they’ve come together to build a new life. But will the past set them free or pull them under?

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…

Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own.

Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.

 

Riding The Iron Rooster
By Train Through China

By Paul Theroux

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Written in 1988, this book was recommended to me by my dad. I couldn’t put it down. Riding The Iron Rooster took me on a live long love of books about travels, but this one always stands out.

Official Description: Paul Theroux, the author of the train travel classics The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express, takes to the rails once again in this account of his epic journey through China. He hops aboard as part of a tour group in London and sets out for China’s border. He then spends a year traversing the country, where he pieces together a fascinating snapshot of a unique moment in history. From the barren deserts of Xinjiang to the ice forests of Manchuria, from the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton to the dry hills of Tibet, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.

Riley Love-Lyrics

by James Witcomb Riley

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Years ago, so many I can hardly remember, I picked up a small red volume of poetry at a book store. This one always stuck with me.

Her Beautiful Hands

O your hands–they are strangely fair!
Fair–for the jewels that sparkle there,–
Fair–for the witchery of the spell
That ivory keys alone can tell;
But when their delicate touches rest
Here in my own do I love them best,
As I clasp with eager acquisitive spans
My glorious treasure of beautiful hands!

Marvelous–wonderful–beautiful hands!
They can coax roses to bloom in the strands
Of your brown tresses; and ribbons will twine.
Under mysterious touches of thine,
Into such knots as entangle the soul,
And fetter the heart under such a control
As only the strength of my love understands–
My passionate love for your beautiful hands.

As I remember the first fair touch
Of those beautiful hands that I love so much,
I seem to thrill as I then was thrilled,
Kissing the glove that I found unfilled–
When I met your gaze, and the queenly bow,
As you said to me, laughingly, “Keep it now!”
And dazed and alone in a dream I stand
Kissing this ghost of your beautiful hand.

When first I loved, in the long ago,
And held your hand as I told you so–
Pressed and caressed it and gave it a kiss,
And said “I could die for a hand like this!”
Little I dreamed love’s fulness yet
Had to ripen when eyes were wet,
And prayers were vain in their wild demands
For one warm touch of your beautiful hands.

Beautiful Hands! O Beautiful Hands!
Could you reach out of the alien lands
Where you are lingering, and give me, to-night,
Only a touch–were it ever so light–
My heart were soothed, and my weary brain
Would lull itself into rest again;
For there is no solace the world commands
Like the caress of your beautiful hands.

This is a charming volume of poetry that is near and dear to me. Today some might consider this book might be considered overly sentimental or by some sappy. Screw em. I like it. You can like it too. You can like anything you want.

Inscribed on the inside:

To the Elect of Love, – Or Side-By-Side
In Raptest Ecstasy, Or Surrendered Wide
By was That ear No Message To Or Fro
Between The Loved And Lost Of Long Ago.

My version was published in 1905. The book originally came out in 1883.

You can get copies of this online (free digital) or find it in used bookstores. There are also new paperback versions.

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Happy Reading.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Books I Read To My Kids

When I was a child there were a lot of books with pretty pictures, but it has been in the past 50 years that the children’s book industry has blossomed into something truly magical and inspiring for both children and adults.

I’ll put links to Amazon and other sites on here, but I found out about most of these books by word of mouth or GOING TO MY LOCAL LIBRARY. Libraries ROCK – I urge you to GO to your local library and take advantage of all of the useful services they provide. You can also find many of the out of print books on eBay or used book stories (real life and online.)

Sammy the Seal by Sid Hoff

We found an old copy of this at our local library sale. What a find! Sammy the seal decides to go to school but finds it isn’t really the best place for him to be. Sounds simple but it will surprise you. This is an old fashioned read but so much fun. You can’t help but adore Sammy!

http://www.amazon.com/Sammy-Seal-Can-Read-Book/dp/0064442705

Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell and Kevin O’Malley

You HAVE to read this one out loud and do ALL of the voices.

The scent of Old Witch’s scrumptious Halloween pie lures Vampire and Ghoul, Ghost and Banshee, Zombie and Skeleton, from their lairs for a midnight feast. This wonderful read-aloud romp, full of spooky sounds and midnight magic is sure to be a Halloween favorite.

http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Pie-Michael-O-Tunnell/dp/B00006F7JK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491026&sr=1-1

One Witch by Laura Leuck

Absolutely charming. I will never tire of this wonderful book. One witch, on a hill, had an empty pot to fill. So what does that one witch do? She goes around to visit all her fiendish friends, naturally; two cats, three scarecrows, four goblins, five vampires, six mummies, seven owls, eight ghosts, nine skeletons, and ten werewolves.

At every stop they contribute ghoulishly tasty ingredients until the witch has enough to make a properly gruesome stew for her party. Then, of course, she must send out her invitations; to the ten werewolves, nine skeletons, eight ghosts, seven owls, six mummies…

http://www.amazon.com/One-Witch-Laura-Leuck/dp/0802777295/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491243&sr=1-12

Each Peach Pear Plum by Allen Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

 A dear friend of mine gave me this book when my daughter was born. I can’t even count how many times we read this. I’ll never give my copy away!

“Each Peach Pear Plum. I spy Tom Thumb!” In this engaging, interactive book for the very young, familiar nursery-rhyme characters such as Mother Hubbard and Baby Bunting sneak their way into the gentle drawings. Even young children who might not know all the fairy-tale stars can find them lurking in the cupboard, on the stairs, or deep in the woods. In the happy finale, the whole cast meets up for plum pie in the sun, where the little one on your lap will gleefully find everyone. http://www.amazon.com/Each-Peach-Pear-Picture-Puffins/dp/014050639X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491325&sr=1-1

Go, Dog. Go! By p.d. Eastman

All I can say is that this book is one of the most perfect and brilliant books ever written. It has it all: fast cars, parties, adventure, gambling, romance, sports and more. If you haven’t read Go, Dog. Go! you’ve been sleeping way too long in your coffin. Time to wake up and read the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Read-Myself-Beginner-Books/dp/0394900200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491364&sr=1-1

Oz Series

JOHN R. NEILL (Illustrator), L. FRANK BAUM (Author)

Most people don’t know that after the first book “The Wizard of Oz” there were more. 14 OZ books written by L. Frank Baum and many more written by other writers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oz_books

While I like the first book – I love the rest, especially Dorothy and the Wizard In Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

Oz is a land where girls rule. Dorothy, Glanda, Ozma and other strong girls take charge!

When the series continues after the first book and (John R. Neill takes over the illustation) the entire tone of the books changes. Dorothy is transformed from a chubby frumpy farm girl who longs for home, to a dynamic, sharp, stylish girl who is almost like a hip young Hillary Clinton.  Oz becomes a place where you’ll meet talking cats with an attitude, where anything can come to life and there is a surprise around every corner.

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

My favorite book by Maurice Sendak is Outside Over There. It is not only one of the most beautiful books ever written, but one of the most touching and magical books I’ve ever read. It is a story of Ida who is watching her baby sister, but not so well, because her baby sister is kidnapped by goblins. Of course Ida must go on a quest to rescue her sister. It is a story as only Maurice Sendak can tell though his wonderful words and illustrations.

Some people believe the movie Labyrinth was based on this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Over-There-Caldecott-Collection/dp/0064431851/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491556&sr=1-1

The next two books are by Daniel Pinkwater – a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t heard of him look him up on the NPR web site archives (NPR.org)

Irving and Mukuk: Two bad Bears by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

This is one of those spit milk out of your nose pee your pants funny books.  Jill Pinkwater’s illustrations are too much FUN and perfect for this story!

http://www.amazon.com/Irving-Muktuk-Two-Bears-Story/dp/0618354042/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491637&sr=1-1

Wolf Christmas by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

A touching Christmas story about a group of wolves who become curious about the human celebration of Christmas.  My favorite Christmas Story.

Daniel Pinkwater reading “Wolf Christmas”: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/25/132324290/Daniel-Pinkwater-Reads-Wolf-Christmas

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Christmas-Daniel-Manus-Pinkwater/dp/0761450300/ref=sr_1_86?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491751&sr=1-86

 The House on East 88th Street by Benard Waver

A fun book that will make you wish you have Lyle the crocodile living with you. A charming book about the Pimm family and the unexpected bonus they find when they move into the house on East 88th Street!

 

The best gift (aside from common sense) you can give your child is the gift of reading and story telling.   

Please feel free to let me know if you have any favorites you’d like to post or an author you’d like to feature (especially indie authors). If you are an author of YA or kids’ books, and if I feel you’d make a good fit for this blog, I’d love to help you get the word out about  your work! That goes for illustrators too!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman