Guest Post By Leenna Naidoo: My Personal Quests Within A Quest

When Mliae invited me to write a guest post, I was a little daunted. You see, Mliae’s one of my best blogging friends and I’ve loved Lifexperiment since I first came across it back in 2015 or so when I was on my own quest to get into this awesome thing called Blogging. I didn’t want to disappoint Mliae, and I didn’t want to disappoint you, either. But, what to write about? I could talk about my new book, Quest For Wholly Pale, and how excited I’m to finally have a paperback available globally! But, I’ve been talking about that for a while and it didn’t quite feel right. Still, this got me thinking about Emrys, his quest and his travels…and that got me thinking about my quest to be a writer and how my own travels contributed to it—to me! So, now that I’ve done this long and probably pointless intro, let me get on with it.

Leenna’s Quest For…

My quest to be a writer began at an early age and (not sadly) continues till this day. In fact, I can see it continuing indefinitely, which is probably a good thing. After all, how can I fail at being the writer I want to be if I’m still questing for it, right? Right? Nevertheless, I’m very grateful to be on this journey and to have experienced so many places, people, events and magical situations I never dreamt I could. This may have been, in part, because of some of my more eccentric real-life quests. Take that time I went in search of fairy tales in Scotland…

Leenna’s Quest For A Sense Of Scottish Fairy Tales

Imagine the Borders of Scotland back in 2000-2001 (yes, during the Foot&Mouth disease outbreak, and may the Belties recover), when summer was late and cool. I’d decided to visit the land of Michael Scott (mysterious wizard and scientist), Tam Lin (dubious but very cute romantic hero stolen by fairies then rescued), and Thomas The Rhymer (less mysterious but more enigmatic, who either ran away to the fairy queen or vanished into an abbey). I quickly came to realise that Michael Scott research was better done in books and, perhaps, in Spain, so here I’ll share my quests for the two Toms or Tams.

Thomas The Rhymer/True Thomas

With a friend hailing from Rhymer’s home town, it was fairly easy to complete my quest to experience something of Thomas the Rhymer, Laird of Eirceldoune. It was a Saturday’s (or was it Sunday’s) adventure: bus from Edinburgh to Galashiels, remembering to jump off at the Earlston (modern name of Eirceldoune) bus-stop. Vicki had said there was no museum but that the best coffeehouse/cafe in town looked right onto the remains of Thomas’ pele-tower house. She recommended the shrimp sandwich.

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I followed Vicki’s word and wasn’t disappointed despite the drizzle. The sandwich was excellent, the location more so, and the ruins, though small, quite beautiful. There I discovered brilliant yellow daisies cling precariously to old stone and make for gorgeous photos. While I saw no white harts, it was still a peaceful, magical day.

My second Thomas The Rhymer quest was not so successful, having more in common with Emrys’ quest for the Wholly Pale.

It was a few months later—July 2001, that I spent a weekend in Melrose, Scotland. I walked confidently along the country road a mile or so out of town (but don’t take my word for it as I’m terrible at gauging distance without a speedometer) and turned up a winding road in search of the Eildon Tree where Thomas is said to have first met and fell in love with the Fairy Queen. My guidebook informed me the Tree was ancient even in Thomas’ time, and was protected by law. My confidence didn’t falter as I strode up the steep hill because I’d noted the tourist information sign at the turning which had an icon of a tree and the words ‘Eildon Tree ¼ mile’, and I was pretty sure that meant it was less than a kilometre’s walk. No prob, right? Right?

After what seemed like 20 minutes of walking but may have been less, I took a breather opposite a graveyard with a huge, beautiful yew tree standing royally at its centre. That must be the Eildon Tree, I thought, but what is it doing in a graveyard? Nevertheless, I tentatively took some steps into the cemetery. A family watched me quizzically but not unfriendly, probably wondering what a tourist was doing out there. I approached with hesitance as a man advanced in the same manner. I asked him, beginning to feel embarrassed, if the yew was the Eildon Tree. He smiled widely. “Ah, no! It’s aboot a quarter mile up the road!” He pointed further up the steepening hill. I thanked him and walked back to the tarmac to resume my climb.

thumbnail_The Eildon Hills

Ten minutes or more later and certain I’d come over that ¼ mile, the road curved dramatically around the hill. Quickening my steps, I thought with relief, It must be somewhere just around that corner.

If it does, I shall never know.

The road continued curving around, but my path was blocked by a chain-link fence right across the way with a construction site beyond. It was deserted. No friendly soul to ask if the Tree was another ¼ mile up that hill somewhere, or if the Fairy Queen had spirited it away just to annoy me. There was nothing to do but to retrace my steps: defeated, forlorn and longing for a good cuppa tea, and wondering if the Eildon Tree can only be seen by a few like True Thomas…

Tam Lin

In August (or was it September) 2001, I hired a little car (Peugeot) and spent a couple of days in Dumfries and Galloway (that’s the western side of the Scottish border with England, as opposed to the Eastern side of the Scottish border known as The Borders. Don’t ask. I tried, and…Just don’t.). I’d decided that it was time to discover more about Tam Lin, a figure I’d had a crush on ever since reading Diana Wynne Jone’s Fire And Hemlock, which is based on the traditional ballad and fairy tale of Tam Lin (Tamlane). Earlier that year, I’d journeyed to Lauriston in the Borders where his purported family, the Roxboroughs, have their estate open to the public (yes, like Rhymer, he was a real person). While an interesting visit, I couldn’t find any references to Tam Lin, and eventually asked a distinguished elderly woman (who, I’d like to think, was probably one of his descendants) for help. She was kind enough to direct me to another younger, enthusiastic scholarly woman who very kindly copied some references in an old book for me and who directed me to Abbotsford, but that’s another story.

So, on my D&G trip with the car handy, I was determined to visit Tam Lin’s well—the site where he met and fell in love with Fair Janet, or rather, she fell for him.

It was a long and hairy drive up the famous old pass on the Old Selkirk Road that leads from D&G into the Borders. Negotiating 80 degree bends (but don’t take my word for it) and bleating sheep was exhausting. I found Tam’s Well with little difficulty by following the road signs and indications in my guidebook, and…well!

They were right. It’s a very spooky place. I was glad it wasn’t yet Halloween.

But there is a well!

Which was kind of an anticlimax. No roses. No Tam Lin. No faint call of Fairy Land…or maybe there was. I stood there for a good ten minutes or so, just in case ol’ Tam wanted to turn up after all even though he had been rescued. I grew colder, uneasy, looking across the road to the trees and tangled undergrowth across the road, and trying not to shiver. When I’d had my fill of water (not from Tam’s well, I’m not that stupid!), I decided to call it a successful quest and head off for lunch and nice cuppa tea, which, in my humble opinion, is the best way to end all quests—or at least, quests within quests.

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Thank you for journeying through my Scottish quests with me. I hope you’ll join me in discovering Emrys Lailoken’s and friends’ in Quest For The Wholly Pale, and where my personal quest as a writer takes me next.

In the meantime, I wish you well, fortitude, and much wonderful magic in your own quests, be they personal or professional.

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About Quest For The Wholly Pale

A young wandman on a fool’s quest. A six-fingered former thief with a taste for a good brew. An animate parchment born of magic and a boy’s despair. The one’s Emrys Lailoken, the other his best friend and companion Dierder, and the third, naturally, is Parchment. Together they will learn what disaster spells like, how randomly love casts its nets, and just how far a bad old-fashioned pun can take you. Full of feint-hearted wizards, feared less young witches, and the occasional needling demon, this story will have you seeing stars…and the odd planet.

ISBN: 978-1-947655-31-7

Available At Most Regional and Online Book-stockist as well as specialist stores including:

Barnes and Noble

Waterstones

Carrefour Spain

Booktopia

Amazon

About Leenna

Leenna writes cross-genre suspense, romance, and dabbles in sci-fi/fantasy. She also reads the tarot. Her short stories have appeared in Mad Scientist Journal, SciPhi Journal, and Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores where she also serves as editor’s assistant to the Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales department. Her most recent attempts to channel Terry Pratchett-style fiction can be found in Quest For The Wholly Pale. When not writing, she often tries her hand at anything vaguely artistic. She blogs and shares updates on her writers blog and her creatives blog. Her tarot resources and videos are shared on her Patreon and her YouTube channel as Writerstarot With Leenna.

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Recycled Book Reading Challenge: American Beauty by Zoey Dean

This is my RBRC book for the month of September.

I have to start by saying that this was not my kind of book. I think this book is aimed more towards the teen crowd. Apparently this is one book out of a large series.

This was more of a Beverly Hills high graduation story, rife with teen angst and first world problems. I was unable to get through the entire book.

If you would like to join the Recycled Book Reading Challenge, we would love to have you! You can find the complete challenge layout by clicking here. I usually post on the 1st day of every new month. I will add the link to your post from that month on my upcoming posts.

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

 

August 2018 RBRC

Greetings!

I’m sharing Colette’s Recycled Book Reading Challenge for this month, as we were traveling and I was unable to do my regular post. (Which by the way, the RBRC will be continuing as of the 1st of this month!) Colette is awesome and I hope you will visit her blog.

All the best!

-Mliae

via August 2018 RBRC

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

Greetings my fellow earthlings 🙂

Today, finally – I’m on time!

I’m not sure where I found this book. Honestly, I’ve been dragging it around with me for the past decade and I never cracked the spine. Now I have, it feels good & I can pass this book along to someone else who might enjoy the read.

I begrudgingly admit, that I am not a huge fan of this book. It’s a shame, really, since I have devoted so much of my time and space to keeping this book for so long. But alas, all things must come to an end.

I like the actual story line. Written about a newlywed couple who set off for an adventure in Kenya. The problem is, for me, that the characters weren’t so relatable and the overall telling of the story seemed to have some gaps. (Now, I’m not one to criticize as my story telling skills are basically nonexistent.) But I guess what I’m trying to say is that parts just didn’t seem realistic; plausible – that there was somehow an extra explanation missing that would’ve tied it all together. You know what I’m trying to say? And, the ending was weird. It felt more like the author just stopped writing and turned it in, instead of wrapping it up for us with a pretty gold bow.

There was this one part that stuck in my mind, and I would like to ask any of you who might know if this is actually true. There was a break-in, and our main lady states that the only reason their documents weren’t taken is because she stashed them in her under things drawer. That an African man would never go trifling through a woman’s under garments. In the story, that was the only space that wasn’t disturbed. Is this a real thing? Would be great to know if it really is that way or not.

If you would like to join the Recycled Book Reading Challenge, we would love to have you! You can find the guidelines here. I will share your posts that month on my Challenge write-up post.

Unfortunately, this month, no-one has yet shared their posts, so I will link to some previous challenge posts if you’re interested.

State Fair Recipes

Bartending for Dummies pocket edition

Walt Whitman selected poems 

Let’s dust off those old books and finally give them a read!

Have you been doing the Recycled Book Reading Challenge? If so, drop your post link below!

-Mliae

 

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: America’s Best State Fair Recipes by Catherine Hanley

Hi there 🙂

My sincerest apologies for being late this month! I really wanted to try some of these recipes first, and since I had the flu, it took a bit longer than expected.

I really love the recipes in this book. They look so delicious! The only problem I’m having, is that I don’t know what the equivalent of some of the ingredients are. Like ‘shortening’. I assume that ‘shortening’ is also referred to as ‘lard’, but we don’t have anything like that here. What could I use instead of that? Butter, perhaps? Or……

Other than the issue of trying to find some of the ingredients (or something similar) in my area of the world, there really isn’t a problem. I am really excited about trying some of the picketing recipes in this book as well!

I found the Blueberry Pie recipe and it had me drooling. We don’t have blueberries in ample amounts here, but we do have currants! So, I made a currant pie with the blueberry pie recipe and it turned out pretty good!

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This is before cooking. The crust looks terrible, I know. It was my first go with actual dough instead of a ready to bake shell, and I found that I didn’t have enough for my pan so I got creative and the crust got paper thin in parts. Regardless of its lack of beauty, the pie was awesome and it was gobbled up just as soon as it came out of the oven! (Hence the reason I don’t have the ‘after’ photo.) ALSO, making this pie with red currants would be super fun for Halloween! It was all gooey and runny and kind of looked like blood pie. Which was perfect because we were binge watching vampire flicks.

There is also a Rhubarb sour-cream (creme fráiche) pie recipe that is ideal for our frozen rhubarb!

If you see this cookbook somewhere on the super cheap, I say grab it up! The recipes are simple and the food looks great!

If you would like to join my Recycled Book Reading Challenge, you can find the guidelines by clicking here. The more, the merrier! Dust off those old books and give them a read!

Also, please check out Teleporting Weena’s RBRC ‘Ghost Girl’ for this month by clicking here!

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Ghost Stories of the Old South by Edrick Thay

Hi there 🙂

I’m late. It’s been a bit difficult to do much reading during all of the wedding chaos and the honeymoon. However, I was able to get my little grubbies on this new-old treasure!

We were surprised with a honeymoon in the Southern United States. And it was awesome! (I have been waiting for pictures to come in, to share with you) As you can well imagine, there are lots of spooky old plantation homes there and ALOT of history! So I was really excited to see this book and read through some of the stories before having to return it to its rightful owner.

This book is a collection of ghost stories from Tennessee to Mississippi, written in short story form. Ranging from the mundane to the gruesome, this book would be a fun one from pre-teen to adult. Its also a great addition to those late-night ghost tours!

If you would like to join our Recycled Book Reading Challenge, please do! You can find out what its all about by clicking the link.

I would like to link to another great recycled book reading challenge post from this month at http://www.teleportingweena.wordpress.com the post can by read by clicking here.

What are you reading?

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Walt Whitman, Selected Poems

I was really excited to find this book! Walt Whitman is hailed as an American superhero of nineteenth century poetry & essays. His book, Leaves of Grass, left a lasting impression on students worldwide…especially this one.

What can I say about this book? If you like poetry, symbolism, American history….you’ll love this book. Much of the writing reflects a different era. Not only historically, but politically as well. Having grown up in an age where the United States of America was a newly formed government, his poetry reflects those times.

It is obvious to any reader of Whitman that he is in love with language itself. Words are not merely a tool used to express ones thoughts, but a much deeper love affair with the rhythmic, spasmodic capitulations of speech and the layers upon layers of meanings lying within.

Love it! Recommend it! Enjoy it!

If you would like to join the Recycled Book Reading Challenge, you can find the few guidelines for the challenge by clicking here. Anyone who would like to join this challenge, please link your post to my latest challenge post and I will link to you in the upcoming challenge post on the 1st of the next month. The more, the merrier!

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Hello!

Welcome to my Recycled Book Reading Challenge post for my April read! I did  and did not like this one. I must admit, this is the first Ann Cleeves book that I have read. Allow me to explain.

The story starts out with Magnus Taint, an older gentleman with a mental disability who is blamed for the killing of  a teenage girl nearby. Of course. He was also investigated for a former death of a girl. This seems to be a common cliché now. It is difficult though to explore his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The inability to understand fully the depth of accusations against ones person immediately musters a general empathetic anxiety for the character.

The story plot made me uncomfortable. I do not personally enjoy tales of harm to children or pedophelia. These themes really made me want to just put the book down. However, what kept me reading was not the disturbedness of it, but the unique point of view of the child. A rawly emotional and powerful point of view which really made this reader wonder if the research was that good or if the author herself had experienced these thoughts and emotions at some point herself. (Which puts a completely different spin on things).

The ending is a total surprise, or was for me anyway. I won’t spoil it here.

Ann Cleeves has been highly complimented on her accurate writing about Shetland, in her Shetland series. I have never been there, so cannot account for it personally, but it nice to feel as though the places being described are so accurate that you can kind of picture yourself there.

This is a heavy read. I recommend it if you have the stomach for it. For sensitive readers, I would steer clear of this one. I would like to find another Ann Cleeves book to give a read and see if it was just the book that sat heavily on my brain, or the writer herself.

If you would like to join this challenge, please click here for the challenge instructions. The more the merrier!

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Cover Her Face by P.D. James #RBRC

I love P.D. James. I’ve read quite a few P.D. James books and I get sucked in within the first 30 pages. As it should be 🙂 When I went to my bookshelf of dusty old books and I saw this beauty, I just new it would be perfect to be waiting for me upon my return from the hospital. This is my sick-bed reading for the month of March. Which is probably why I’m actually on time with my challenge reading for the first time in months.

This was a light read, with each chapter separated into subsections. (Which made it awesome for someone who’s falling asleep every half-hour). I got really lucky when I realized that this is actually the 1st of the Dalgliesh detective series. As I have never read any from this particular series before. It is a bit like Agatha Christie or Poirot. Which is cool. I’ve enjoyed those since I was a child.

The victim, a miss Sally Juup. A new, young maid servant who was brought in by the family due to her ‘unfortunate circumstance’. AKA – a little one in tow with no husband in sight. Much is made of her circumstances, in hushed private gossip, of course.

There is a lot going on the day she dies; A church social on the grounds, a proposal from the highly sought after son of the family, Richard. And she finds the ill fathers stash of pills in his bed and runs off to cause a scene.

When Martha, the family’s only full-time servant, and a lifer at that, discovers that Sally has abducted Mr. Maxie’s pill stash, she finally unleashes on the young girl. Who dares stand up to her in return.

But the real clincher is when Sally announces to the matriarch of Martingale that her son proposed to her that day, things get really tense. That night, she is found dead in her bed with her child crying beside her.

I can’t really go into the investigation without giving things away, but if you like Poirot or Agatha Christie stories, you will enjoy this book.

If you would like to join my Recycled Book Reading Challenge, you can find all the details by clicking here.

Also, as stated last month, I will begin including the links of bloggers posts who are doing the Recycled Book Reading Challenge. So, feel free to link your challenges in the comment section here and I will include them in next months post.

You can find Colette’s RBRC post here.

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Dante’s Inferno

A classic piece, I was so excited when I saw this book…and for all of 10 pennies!

I think most of us are familiar with Dante’s 9 rings of hell. In the 1300’s, Dante gets lost in the woods. When Virgil, a ghost, offers to help him find his way back. Virgil can lead Dante to safety, but the shortcut is the most gruesome of all. Through hell.

Dante actually runs into some of his friends on his way through and quite a few famous persons from throughout history. The rings of hell in which these people reside, screams volumes about their perceived involvement (or lack thereof) in the trials and tribulations of the period.

Dante wrote Divine comedy works while in exile. The ‘comedy’ depicts a surreal vision of the church vs state politics during the 1300’s in Florence. Ironically speaking, the timing couldn’t be better.

I particularly like this version by Steve Ellis. Translations can be quite hit or miss at times, and thus far (I have read several varying translations of Dante’s Inferno) this is the best translation I have read. It is not as dry and awkward as some of the classical translations are, and although the exact word may not be a direct translation, the meaning of the word is a direct translation. And that just makes so much more sense. After all, so many direct translations make absolutely no sense. Its all about context.

If you would like to join the Recycled Book Reading Challenge, you can find it here. For those of you posting your reading challenges, from now on, please link to the corresponding month’s challenge post here. I have decided that I would like to start linking to your posts on my upcoming recycled book reading challenge posts!

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

Former.ly: The rise and fall of a social network by Dane Cobain @danecobain #formerly

I have been reading Dane Cobain’s books for awhile now. Former.ly is the newest that I’ve gotten my hands on, and as always with this author, I got hooked into this book almost immediately. Dane Cobain is a young UK author with 5 published books under his belt. I really enjoy this author, partly because his relative youth allows for him to write works of fiction which appeal to our modern-day, technology driven world.

This book is a good read. It is suspenseful and gives the reader an unusual first-person perspective into the world of social media. This book presents readers with a realm of social media possibilities that we rarely consider in this I.T. based world of ours. A well written, great read!

Dan Roberts is your main character. Like most of us, he just wants to find a job and pay his bills. Being a bit on the naive side, he has no idea what he’s in for when he gets a job at Former.ly. You see, Former.ly the company, is much like Facebook…only with a bit of a sinister twist. It’s a social media platform for the dearly departed. This is how it works: The users, write in it almost like a private journal. They are encouraged to share their most private thoughts. These thoughts are kept private. Safe and sound on the secret server. This is an easy false comfort to fall into – journaling, as most of us bloggers know. However, the kicker comes when the user dies. Once the user has passed on, these secret writings are no longer kept hidden. Au contraire – they are posted for the entire world to see! Now imagine this, for just a moment. Let it sink in. Can you IMAGINE the kinds of chaos that ensues once those posts are made public?! Hate mail, confessions of an extraordinary kind, conspiracies, etc… Shit hits the fan!

I, personally, really like the way it is written in first person. Some people do, some people don’t. I think its refreshing to have a limited perspective about the goings on of the story. It relays to us how narrow our own views really are, and reminds us that one person cannot possibly know all of the aspects. This, to me, brings the book a bit more into my personal realm of understanding. Life teaches us that the omniscient perspective of some books is not at all realistic. The first person perspective however, keeps us arm chair detectives a bit more involved. As, we as people, can only make judgement calls on the limited information available to us in the real world.

I would highly recommend this book to adult readers.

If you would like to see more about this book or some of the other great titles by this author, please click here to visit the Dane Cobain official website.

Have you read any of Dane Cobain’s books?

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. I like it, and will continue to look for the next books from this author 🙂

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: Sandstorm by Michael Asher

This book was passed along to me by a friend of mine after he finished reading it. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for awhile, so I thought it would be a great pick for November’s Recycled Book Reading Challenge.

This book is set in the Sahara, during the 50’s. It is a bit cliché – the whole honor, nomadic wanderer, loyalty, betrayal in the desert thing. But it is a good book…so far…for a few days of chilling out.

However, I must be honest. I was unable to complete this book before todays challenge deadline. So it is difficult for me to share an accurate assessment. I’m not exactly sure why…maybe the tiredness. But I just couldn’t get into it as an adventure book, which I generally get so involved in, I can’t put them down. But by the time I got about 100 pages in, it started to seem a bit…easy to guess where it was going. I did try to finish it, but it just didn’t hold my attention. I’ll be passing this one along. I guess now I understand why it was given to me 😉

I’m loving reading your challenge posts!

-Mliae

Book Review: Futuring the Future by Michael F. Kaufmann #FuturingtheFuture


Firstly, I must admit that this book was a bit difficult to follow. So please understand that this may influence my review a bit, as I was unable to completely grasp some things.

Written in a simple style, this book is both fiction and non-fiction, woven together in an intricate tale which blurs the lines of reality in order to create an out-of-the-box picture of our interactions with other planetary lifeforms.

Although written to be simply understood, this book is very complex as far as critical thinking  and story plot is concerned. I would recommend this for a more intellectual sci-fi reader.

The actual formatting of the book is more along the lines of a script. A bit choppy, difficult to follow at times and occasionally one is sent to read and re-read the same passages. I understand why this is, I think, so that like re-watching a movie, the reader picks up on things the second or third time around, that one would have missed the first time. Especially when it is included in a different context.

This is an intriguing read, and very interesting…especially when one is not sure which facts are facts, and which are fiction. It does, encourage one to think deep thoughts, much more than the usual sci-fi novel.

Even though I had a difficult time following at times, I really love the fact that this is written in a completely different form. It’s like it forces your brain to take breaks and reconsider what’s happening. Different is good! This book is not your average futuristic read…for sure!

The author is cited to have written more than 10 books. He is a Physicist and has a core interest in General Relativity. These facts are useful to keep in mind as one reads Futuring the Future.

I would recommend this book, but only for those who are really looking for a thought inspiring, scientific read. Something different. This is not one of those relaxing weekend books.

If you are interested in this intriguing future-based book, it can be found by clicking here.

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review

Book Review: Hi-tech Hijack by Dov Nardimon #HiTechHijack


This is one of those adventure books that I did not want to stop reading. It sucked me into the story from the very beginning. Which, I love 😉

Eddie, an Israeli career scientist who is on the never ending quest to cure cancer with the Ebola virus, finds himself and his partner in a precarious situation when they are kidnapped en-route to their destination. Through the drugging and reminiscing, a large portion of this book is a flash back which explains how the pair found themselves in their current predicament. It explains how Eddie was so desperate that he gave himself Ebola and is still recuperating from his recovery.

Eddie and Reuben find themselves held hostage in an almost luxury hotel-like situation, by a nasty couple out to discover the secret to keeping Ebola alive and airborne. Eddie, having had military training in hostage situations, maintains his calm demeanor throughout the drama. Reuben, on the other hand, is not a cool fellow and suffers panic attack after panic attack – thus placing himself at the top of the interrogation list.

We eventually discover that Reuben, is a total dirtbag. His quest for money blinds him totally. Eddie, our protagonist, remains logical and opportunist at every turn. I don’t want to give away too much, but there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of drama!

The author has obviously done copious amounts of ebola research and some serious checking into how scientific research is performed and funded. The facts contained in the book are mind boggling on their own.

If you like thrillers, you will love this book! It’s a really good book and I could not make myself stop reading it. The manipulation, and adventure keeps its readers wanting to know what happens next, after every page turn! Highly recommended!

If you would like to purchase this book, it can be found here on the official amazon US page.

For international orders, here is the amazon UK link: Hi-Tech Hijack

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I actually liked it quite a lot 🙂

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren

Welcome to my November 1st post for the Recycled Book Reading Challenge! If you would like to join, please check out the original post here for the ‘rules’ and start reading! For those awesome ones of you who are already doing the monthly challenge, I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to extend it beyond 12 months (for myself, at least). It’s been such a fun challenge to do and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts so much that I would like to make this a permanent monthly series here on Lifexperiment Blog! 🙂

I used to love this book when I was child. I know that it has been translated into many different languages in the past 40 years, so when I saw this last month in a second hand store for .50 cents, and in English, I had to buy it!

This is a children’s book, although nowadays it might be considered a bit heavy for children reading since most versions include the realities of death, disease, tyranny and betrayal. (Like most of the classics)

When Karl is hit with a difficult disease, his older brother Jonatan soothes him with tales of Nangijala, a city in the afterlife. Shortly after that, the home catches fire and in order to save his brothers life, Jonatan leaps out of a window carrying Karl on his back. Karl is devastated by the death of his older brother, but not long after, on one very sleepy night, Karl finds himself and his brother in the city of Nangijala.

Nangijala is a peaceful city, but alas, it is only one city…there are others. And in the next town, there is an evil tyrant named Tengil and his dragon Katla which are reading havoc.

The Brothers Lejon (Lion), Karl and Jonatan, lead the battle against the tyrannical Tengil and his dragon…and it all revolves around a magical trumpet.

In the end, well I don’t want to give too much away – Let’s just say that there are even better cities, which are more peaceful and happier places for the deceased, beyond, in another level. It seems like a never ending cycle, dying, living, dying and re-birth again.

I loved reading this book as much as I loved having it read to me as a child.

Have you read The Brothers Lionheart?

Here are two links to the publishers online sales if you love this book:

USA – The Brothers Lionheart
UK – The Brothers Lionheart

What are your reads for Octobers recycled book reading challenge?

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

A Simple Life by Giora Amir #ASimpleLife


This book, an autobiographical memoir told in first person narrative form gives us, the reader a vivid glimpse into the lives and thoughts of  a boy coming into manhood during the infantile stages of the holocaust and throughout. This book tugged at my heart strings like no other in a very long time. A must-read!

The author, born in Slovakia in 1928, walks us through his eye witness testimony of how the holocaust sneakily came to be, from the eyes of a boy. He discusses watching Jewish businesses ‘Aryanised’ and how no-one really thought it would last long. That surely, someone will take this madman out of powerful position – it’s just a matter of time. I can easily see myself, naively assuming that relocation would be only temporary and that the whole of Europe could not possibly hate one culture so much as to see them utterly destroyed. Denial is a powerful thing, and it something one must take into account when reading this book!

Based in Slovakia, in the town of Presnov is where the beginning of this family’s story of degradation in the holocaust begins. The author, reminisces about the good times, his life milestones with which those he loves will not be able to repeat with any others. He writes about watching his sister and other dear relatives, leaving for Palestine to escape persecution. He also writes about relatives from Poland escaping to Slovakia to work in ‘Aryanised’ businesses – not knowing that the same grisly events were slowly unfolding in their own city of reprieve.

Amir explains to us the desperation of his father to become an ‘economically viable jew’ or Hospodarsky Zid in order to gain exemption status or the vynimka label so as not to be sent to the Poland ghettos – or worse. An economic jew being explained as one who had knowledge or a level of expertise that would be of economic benefit to the government. Even this label did not help much during the ’round-ups’ of 1942. Only hiding helped, and not with much success as many examples from the period have shown.

Giora Amir speaks with great relief and trepidation about the days leading up to May 8, 1945. The day Germany surrounded. Having been taken in by the Czechs during a surprising run-in, only some days before, Giora and his small group of refugees were finally the lucky ones – albeit in a world that still held a great amount of distain and few opportunities for the remaining Jewish populace.

The author, Giora Amir, takes great care to lay out a mapping of familial history, culture and business dealings in the beginning of this book. This serves well to bring a sense of humanness to the reader. Whereas it is normally easy to disassociate oneself from the characters in a book, it is not the case in this book. In this book, the reader feels closer to the characters and therefore experiences a larger sense of fear and empathy with the characters.

I very much appreciate the fact that this book is not just a first person eyewitness account of the the author. The author has taken great care to include letters and writings that he knew would never see the light of day otherwise – to give us, the reader, a clear vision of what life, death, sadness and suffering was like for all involved. These included testimonies also shed a dim light on the happenings, hidings, round-ups and battles from other areas and from different perspectives.

If you like The Diary of Anne Frank, you will love this book! I highly recommend this book for all ages! Keep a tissue handy though. This book can be found at amazon by clicking here. There are both Kindle and paperback editions.

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This book tugged at my heart strings like no other in a very long time. A must-read!

Book Review: Five Seasons inThe Kitchen #FiveSeasonsinTheKitchen


I really really like this cookbook! The recipes are unique and awe inspiring, and set out in such a way to help the reader follow a Zen-inspired lifestyle.

The 5 seasons are set as Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each season has its foods (seasonal fruit and vegetable), the colors that normally accompany these foods & seasons (greens, reds, whites, etc) and coolest of all – the organs of the body which benefit most from this seasonal eating (Heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.) Fortunately for us, we can make almost any of these recipes year-round for a full body benefit and extremely tasty experience!

Some of the recipes I am dying to try:

  • Vegetable Stuffed Persimmon Fruit Leather with Asian Paste (Spring)
  • Rye and Spelt Flour Sicilian Pizza (Spring)
  • Persimmon Sorbet! (Spring)
  • Endive Boats Stuffed with Macadamia Feta (Summer)
  • Baked Vegetable Chips (I have been searching for this recipe!) (Summer)
  • Tri-Color Cashew Cheese Rolls (Late Summer)
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Grilled Pepper Sauce (Late Summer)
  • Hearty Root Soup (Autumn)
  • Acai Sorbet (Autumn)
  • Moroccan Style Jerusalem Artichokes (Winter)
  • Pickled Vegetables – Korean Kimchi (Winter)

In the beginning of the book, there is a nice explanation of Zen and the Zen diet. Following the recipes, there is a great section about mindful eating, which I think is extremely important – especially if one is using foods as a means of healing.

One of the additions I enjoyed, is the ‘Good to know’ sections. Filled with tidbits about ingredients, prep and nutritional value. It really is good to know that certain food items are very filling, and therefore I can make smaller portions!

If you are interested in cooking for health, following the natural cycle of food and body or just love to cook – I highly recommend this cookbook and it can be found here.

I can tell you that we will be keeping this e-book handy for our kitchen adventures, and I hope you will too!

– Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I like it…a lot 🙂

Book Review:Broken Leaves of Autumn by Eli Hai #Review


This book begins with Jeff and his younger sister Pam, setting the stage in a home with a drunken, abusive father and a beautiful submissive mother. After Jeff returns home to discover that Pam has received the beating of a lifetime from her father, he starts planning to leave. No long after that, Jeff has had enough and informs Pam that he is living for good. NY is his goal. He doesn’t know how he’ll survive there or what he’ll do, but anything is better than what he’s living in. Fortunately he finds a deal he cannot refuse on his very first day in NY! He meets a man, Ahron, an ultra Othordoxy Jewish man who arranges a place to live for Jeff and gets him a job washing windows as well as other odd jobs.

Eve, a beautiful successful NY stock trader, works in one of the high rises where Jeff cleans the outside windows. Although herself being a hot commodity on the dating market, she notices Jeff when he’s outside her window and just can’t seem to shake him out of her mind.

These two do meet and the story is beautiful. However, it is a sub-story within the book. The main story follows Jeff’s life and Ahron and his family’s lives in parallel.

I don’t want to give away the good bits, so it’s difficult because I want to tell you all about it. The author; Eli Hai, has written the book in such a way as to depict the dramatic differences in the lives, lifestyles, culture and importance (or lack there of) in these lives. If you’re a fan of Yiddish, you’ll love this book. I learned quite a bit more Yiddish words, and they are carefully sewn throughout the story. I can admit quite freely, that this was a lesson of culture for me and I consider myself a somewhat worldly woman.

I found this book quite riveting. I am not usually a fast reader, but I found myself turning page after page after page in this book. It’s a good one! I do recommend this book. Especially if you are a fan of ‘happily ever after’s’.

If you are interested in reading this book, you can get it by clicking here. I am also attaching additional links to the amazon stores below if you prefer region-specific shopping:

Amazon US:
Broken Leaves of Autumn

Amazon UK:
Broken Leaves of Autumn

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. And I liked it 🙂