Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review

Gone on SundayTitle: Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe

Genre: Currently #10598 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Mysteries

Publisher: Create Space IPP

Publication Date:  January 2017

Gone on Sunday – A Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mystery – Cover conveys mood

Gone on Sunday by Tower Lowe attempts to give us two distinct murder stories within the same book separated as has been previously noted by 40 years. Continue reading “Gone on Sunday-A Cotton Lee Penn Mystery – a Book Review”

Global Observation of World Book Day–Read Much?

 

Amazon celebrated World Book Day on April 20
Picture from Amazon Kindle Prime Landing Page

This year, World Book Day is being observed on Sunday, April 23rd. Amazon Kindle Prime has a beautiful landing page, commemorating the day with pictures and an invitation to join in the global celebration of “reading, authors, and books.” On April 20th, Seattle promoted a “Global Free Library, author readings, and book inspired activities.”

 

This is truly a global event; however, the UK and Ireland seem to take it one step further by providing World Book Day costumes for children.  

Originally organized by UNESCO on April 23rd, 1995, the annual event primarily promotes reading and publishing. Of course, there is a strong emphasis as well on the importance of protecting copyrighted material. Last year there were 250 separate events on four continents by more than 100 countries.

#LovetoReadThe 20th anniversary of World Book Day is celebrated by sharing why you #LovetoRead. Share your stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  It’s not too late to set up your own Goodreads Reading Challenge. (I’ve had to reduce my reading challenge to 65 books this year–I’m writing more.)

Reading empowers you through intellectual growth and activates imagination. Reading is major relaxation, a quiet moment to yourself; the ultimate stress reliever.

Love to Read, but don’t have a book at the moment? No problem! Just check out my Review list! I read across most genres and probably have a recommendation for you–just ask. Oh, and don’t forget the books by Stanley McShane, especially if you are into Historical Fiction! ©2017 Virginia Williams (Picture of woman reading by Canva free pics.)I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly

Pokemon GOWhat is all this hullabaloo about Pokémon GO? Are you one of those “10 years and older” willing to see what the uproar is about? This is not the first time I’ve tried to catch up to the latest craze. Pokémon GO has now hit more than “21 million active daily users.” You’d think there would have to be something really captivating about it. Turns out, it’s Augmented Reality. (That’s AR to anyone older than 10 years.) A few days ago, I wrote about AI (Artificial Intelligence). This game appears to be a long way from intelligence of any kind. TPokemon Go Ballhe whole point seems to be that of throwing a virtual ball at a virtual creature.

Pokemon Pikachu
Pikachu

Being such a progressive older person, however, I do have a smart phone. And this game is free. (They always start out that way.) But then, here is the catch–there are no instructions. What little print is included must be at 6 pt–WAY too small to read.  I assume that’s because Pokémon is totally familiar to our younger generations who still have good eyes (the original Nintendo game is 20 years old), and they are well acquainted with the annoying little yellow creature and need no instructions.

Pokemon turtleBut Pokémon GO was only released July 6th and this version is specifically designed for mobile application, Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The game was developed in San Francisco by Niantic and uses the phone’s own GPS to appear in gamers physical locations. WHOA! (That’s the “augmented reality”!) Using the device’s camera, different monsters pop-up, who can range from dragons to crabs (I “caught” one yesterday). They all have these amazingly unique names; don’t ask me what the crab was called. Continue reading “Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly”