Category Archives: Inspire

YouTube Favorite Video Series: “Laura’s Prairie Summer” July, 2020 Recorded Live from Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Hi All,

I enjoy watching movies and TV Series based on books. I believe the characters have more depth and the plots more developed when books drive the creative process of screen play creations.

My featured YouTube Video series for COVID-19 2020 Summer is “Laura’s Prairie Summer”. It is free for a little while and I hope you take the time to check out the series from the banks of Plum Creek.

This series is is straight from Walnut Grove, Minnesota and features people from all over the US that have studied or read the Laura Ingalls Wilder Books and one interview in the series was from one of the actresses that started in the “Little House on the Prairie” TV Series. The play scenes include actors from the community.

Here are the links to the shows:

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 1

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 2

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 3

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 4

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 5

Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 6

I hope I have all the links correct but if in doubt just search YouTube for Laura’s Prairie Summer and all the videos will come up for you.

It’s a well done series by local people in Western Minnesota in a small town where farming is the main source of income so anything you can contribute toward the efforts to keep the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum going along with the theater group will be appreciated.

The shows are for the whole family with new scenes included – every year the community puts on a pageant with an outdoor play that is very well done. Tune in and let the kids see entertainment for the whole family. Stay safe everyone.

Photo taken on a July 26, 2014 Trip to Walnut Grove, MN Book Signing event.
Photo taken on a July 26, 2014 Trip to Walnut Grove, MN Book Signing event.
I met Sarah Uthoff featured interviewee from “Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 2” at this July 26, 2014 Book Signing event while waiting in line
I also met Alison Arngrim at the July 26, 2014 Book signing event in Walnut Grove, Minnesota she was featured in “Laura’s Prairie Summer Episode 5” this July 24, 2020.

Recommend “The Master Cook and the Maiden”

I just completed reading “The Master Cook and the Maiden”. The story was full of adventure and happenstance that led to romance and hope. I hope you take some time to learn of Alfwen and Swain as they meet and explore the purpose for their time on earth with all the beauty and danger that comes with living. 

I recommend reading Lindsay Townsend’s books. The reader travels back in time to a place full of magic and love.

To learn more about where to find books by Lindsay check out here website at: Www.lindsaytownsend.co.uk

Travel back in time as you stay safely in your home. Life is full of possibilities you just have to look for them.

New Kindle Book Available on June 4th – Pre-Order Now

Lindsay Townsend’s latest book “Master Cook and Maiden” is out on June 4th and now up for pre-order at Amazon.

The Master Cook and Maiden Link

A lady is betrayed and a dog delivers a dark message. Will she solve the mystery traveling through the lands of Knights, bullies and outlaws. She’ll need to find help but who will she trust.

Lindsay Townsend writes great mysteries set in medieval time true to the period with characters full of hope and promise. I hope you check out her books and travel back in time from the comfort of your arm chair.

Mystery and intrigue found in Lindsay Townsend’s Latest Book

A Chance to Support Childhood Cancer Research

I’m on the final stretch for collecting donations to help Masonic Children’s Hospital fight Childhood cancers. Here’s the info should you want to give:

Below is the link to my photos from the July ride. I didn’t make the whole trip but the donations will still go for fighting childhood cancer. If you don’t want to give on my ride website https://chainbreakerride.org/rider/1327

All donations are 100% applied to childhood cancer research.

Thanks in advance for considering giving to a great Children’s hospital.

All donations are due by October 12th.

https://photos2shareblog.com/2018/08/12/chainbreaker-ride-completed-for-me/

“Leonard”

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“Leonard:  My Fifty-Year Friendship with A Remarkable Man”

By William Shatner with David Fisher.

I recommend this book as a journey of life encompassing a shared career and friendship between actors that I enjoyed growing up.

Listening to Mr. Shatner’s excellent narration to share his love of Leonard Nimoy was a privilege and a priceless gift of insight into what makes a career and friendship.

I am a Star Trek fan growing up and in my 55 years of enjoying Mr. Shatner and Mr. Nimoy in all their many roles I found this book a gift that helped me to see the beauty of pursing a career and how it impacts living life to the fullest.

I’m thankful that I took the time to listen to this well written book.

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Endorse “Neighing with Fire” by Kathryn O’Sullivan 3rd book in the Colleen McCabe Series Release Date May 5, 2015

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I’m thankful for the opportunity to review this book before the official release.  Kathryn O’Sullivan brings us mysteries with a new flair but true to the tradition of Agatha Christie – great plots with engaging dialog.

Firefighting Chief Collen McCabe shows how well a woman performs in positions of authority and leadership. Chief McCabe not only fights fire but crime as well and still finds time to nurture a budding romance.

The story begins with the author, Kathryn O’Sullivan, breathing life into a piece of plastic sheeting from a construction site. The plastic carries the reader into the story in a kind of ballet as the sheeting takes us to a long buried crime scene. The body found is just the start of the mystery that Colleen and her friend, Sheriff  Bill Dorman, work to solve as the story unfolds.

There’s  drama in the North Carolina’s Outer Banks community between those that support the Wild horse habitat and the piping plover shore birds as well as those that would see all habitat taken up with new construction.  Colleen has a fight with Denny Custis, a ruthless land developer about these subject not long before he turns up dead at one of Chief McCabe’s fire scenes.

There’s too many that have issues with Denny and the battle over land for wild habitat versus resorts to make solving the case easy but Colleen has a hunch that the long buried body and Denny’s death are connected now all she has to find out is how.

This excerpt from”Neighing with Fire” demonstrates the compassion Chief McCabe feels for her firefighters:

“….She [McCabe] was anxious to find out how her men were doing – particularly Chip and Kenny, who had been inside the burning structure. …”

Chief McCabe shows how capable a woman is when making life and death decisions without hesitation. I hope strong women both young and old read the Colleen McCabe Series as an inspiration to aspire to the jobs that are in their heart to pursue.

Another great part of the story is the beautifully written scene depicting the picturesque setting of the Outer Banks Village of Corolla, where wild horses still roam free and fire fighters enforce no feeding laws as well as putting out engine fires for cars unfamiliar with driving on Carova Beach.

The message I take from the Colleen McCabe Series is follow your dreams, listen to the message of inner truth and strive to be the best you can be.

I’m looking forward to reading more books from the Colleen McCabe Series. I enjoy mysteries that have a message similar to the one underlying Elizabeth Peters work, highlighting Amelia Peabody’s* books, women don’t need a man to succeed they just need to believe in themselves. These books are also very well written with emphasis on the mystery.

I’m hopeful the writing of Kathryn O’Sullivan continues with many more rewarding reading experiences.

Where to find out more about the books and the author on GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6539561.Kathryn_O_Sullivan

Author’s web page here:
www.kathrynosullivan.com

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*Amelia Peabody

http://www.ameliapeabody.com/

Other books in the Colleen McCabe Series are:

“Murder on the Hoof” #2

http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250049469

“Foal Play” #1

http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250026590

 

I Recommend Mary Balogh’s “A Secret Affair”

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Mary Balogh’s “A Secret Affair” gets 5 Stars from me.

More than a great romance story between a strong woman and man. This story covered some of the ills of the period and how two caring people were able to make a difference for those unable to improve their lot in life on their own.  Anne Flosnik does an excellent job bringing the characters to life with her narration on the audiobook.  Well done production.  Thank you Hennepin County library for providing the best selection of audio and ebook for any library of similar size.

Sincerely, 

Melissa Blanchard

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Minneapolis MN

“The Witness” by Nora Roberts

 

The Witness by Nora Roberts

Why read “The Witness” by Nora Roberts?

Consider a young girl, Elizabeth, finds out her Mother didn’t give birth to her for love but to make the best out of a sperm donor’s DNA.  Elizabeth finds herself at 16 a college student that has never been on a date nor has she ever been shopping with friends.  She has an opportunity to have a day shopping with a girl from her old high school and forging fake ID’s for them to go out to a popular club.

Elizabeth soon finds herself running for her life.  What comes next will change her life in ways she would have never dreamed possible.

Will this naive girl survive into womanhood?  If so, what sort of life will she have?

All this and more will be answered by Nora Roberts as the story unfolds.  You’ll discover what happened to Elizabeth, her Mother and the Federal Agents assigned to protect Elizabeth or is it to prosecute?

“The Witness,” kept me guessing.  It is a snapshot of a girl left on her own with no guidance and the trouble that finds her.  A Mother’s love is important and this story shows why on so many levels.

The adult Elizabeth finds she still has things to learn about finding and keeping love between a man and a woman too.  She has to find the courage and wisdom within herself to pursue the man of her dreams while staying safe from the men from her nightmares.

Nora brings all the characters in this book to life from the shy and bookish Elizabeth to the sterile, demanding and unfeeling Mother you’ll find those you love and those you will love to hate in this adventure of the heart.

There are very few writers that could bring a character like Elizabeth to life, but Nora Roberts does it beautifully.  From the style of Elizabeth’s hair to the experience of wearing her first pair of heals, you will not be disappointed.  This is a definite re-read for me.  So much detail needs to be savored.

I hope you pick up “The Witness” by Nora Roberts and see for yourself what makes this coming of age story a suspenseful drama full of mystery and hope.  You can get the book in the following formats at the links below:

http://www.audiobookstanddl.com/9B656443-488B-4EA1-813A-6E319CB89573/10/119/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=9C9FA007-8C8F-4C14-A40E-19C9E8FDCAE4

http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1WITNESS

If you buy with the second link you can ask to have it signed by the author and its on clearance for $10.00.

I also enjoyed the audiobook performance by Julia Whelan.  She brings out all the emotions of the characters in her voice tone and reading style. Lovely job, Julia, thank you.

“The Ornament” by Zeke Changuris

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What sets “The Ornament” by Zeke Changuris apart making it a must read novel for all ages?  This is the journey of a young photojournalist striving to be the best when the woman of his dreams starts working at the same TV news station.  The courtship of Amy and Sam is full of all the detail of what goes into being a good news anchor and photojournalist along with all the personal struggles these two face living life.

Zeke shows us how a single frame of video captures the emotions of a moment out of time.  He brings to sharp focus all that goes into being human from dating, marriage and finding the courage to say what’s in you heart to a woman you’ve loved all your life.

“The Ornament” allows us to see inside the TV news profession in a whole new way.  Zeke details the ups and downs in a news anchor’s and photojournalist’s personal as well as professional life.  The journey takes us to Hagerstown, Maryland  to Operation Freedom in Iraq and back to Washington, DC.

Zeke Changuris writes from the heart about a profession he loves and how hard it is to find and keep true love.  Zeke’s characters are easy to imagine as well as the places they inhabit.  Vivid descriptions as only a photographer can capture are brought to life in Zeke’s dialog and narrative.  Beautifully and poignantly written.

Reading to me is finding something new about the human condition that is both inspiring and helps me see myself a little more clearly.  “The Ornament” does this and more.  It pulls the emotions out of me.  I feel for Sam and I have a better understanding of what a man experiences as he travels through life.

Thank you, Zeke Changuris for sharing these beautiful characters with me and all readers that enjoy a story that celebrates living life to the fullest.  Keep on writing from the heart, Zeke, you have a gift to not only bring characters to life off the page but to also share the complex emotions that make up each and everyone of us.

I bought my copy at the following link:  http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=ZC_ORNAMENT

From Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe at a Nora Roberts sponsored book signing event.  I hope you all take a few minutes to check out this book and order from TTPBooks.com a safe and secure way to get books quickly and in great condition all over the world.

“The Ornament” is a must read book for our time for all ages.  My book reviews are my own.  I only strive to help readers find books that I’ve enjoyed and found some new insights into the human condition.  Comments are welcomed.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” by Sheryl Seal

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I found this book on Twitter when Sheryl Seal (@sherylseal) tweeted the cover art.  It is amazingly beautiful.  When I found out it is the cover art of a book I knew I had to read it.

What’s so special about “Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)”?  It takes us on journey into the spiritual part of our being.  Into that part of us that makes us part of the universe.  Sheryl also introduces us to the consequences of unharnessed emotion and the price we all pay when we fail to control our thoughts and feelings.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” shows us why it is so important that we get to know our inner selves.  Sheryl delves into what makes us human and unique.  She demonstrates how important it is to be straight with ourselves and others.

Any young adult to senior citizen (rated G for wholesome family reading) will find “Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” engaging and inspiring.  Sheryl writes from the heart and pens imagery like the cover art that moves us to try and capture all the beauty that is around us.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” is fantasy that has roots in reality.  All that experience life will find moments from Oria journey to womanhood that connect with their soul.  Keep on writing Sheryl Seal you have a gift that speaks to the heart.

I purchased my copy for iPad Kindle on Amazon at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Bridalveil-Fall-Dwellers-Ahwahnee-ebook/dp/B00CKR63F2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1403374171&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+bridalveil+fall

Paper back copies are also available.

Adding these 2 to my must read list:

Oria Falls 3rd