Category Archives: Books

“P is for Palestine” Book Encourages Young Children to be Terrorists

Think hate literature is only written for adults? Guess again! A hideous new children’s book called “P is for Palestine” is for sale on Etsy. Not only does it contain vile hate speech, but it actually encourages youngsters to become terrorists!

Take this troubling line as an example: “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!”

Those of us who are familiar with Israeli history are aware that Intifada is also the word used for the two bloody Arab uprisings that occurred in the 1980’s and in the early 2000’s. Many innocent people were wounded and killed needlessly during those times.

Anyone who loves peace would never, ever claim that Intifada is good, especially to an impressionable young mind.

It is so hard, day after day, to see Israel vilified and lied about in the news and in pop culture. The truth is that Arab citizens of Israel have the exact same rights and privileges that Jewish citizens enjoy. They are not hurt, abused, or marginalized by the government, and anyone who says otherwise is not being truthful.

Parents should teach their children that prejudice of any kind is wrong and stress tolerance and friendship with every group as right. We are all a part of the human race and that’s what matters—our similarities, not our differences.

I recognize that the First Amendment exists for a reason and the author can write and distribute this garbage if they wish, however, Etsy doesn’t have to be the vehicle and definitely should not allow listings that promote hate to be featured on their site.

Very troubling, very unnecessary, and very sad!

Books I Love – Botticelli’s Muse

While I enjoy learning about history, many books about the past are so incredibly dull and dry, it’s nearly impossible to finish them. Weaving actual events into a story with engaging characters is much more entertaining. That’s why I loved reading Dorah Blume’s new novel Botticelli’s Muse.

Botticelli’s Muse is the first of a three-volume series that takes place in Italy during the 1400’s. It focuses on Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli, his association with the Medici family of Florence, and the woman at the heart of his paintings.

At that time, patrons would commission artists to create specific works. If an artist lost their patron, they could no longer support their art, so finding and keeping one was a big deal! Botticelli learns this firsthand when he falls out of favor with his patron and has to then work with another whom he doesn’t care for that’s only half his age. This difficult situation hurts his creativity.

During a visit to a convent where his sister is a nun, Botticelli finds a weaver, Floriana, who is being held as a captive. Her only crime? Refusing to denounce her Jewish faith! Captivated by her beauty, she becomes his muse and inspires his famous painting La Primavera.

Due to the turbulent political climate, near stranglehold of the Catholic church, and the intense personalities of the two lovers, their relationship is extremely rocky.

Sounds incredibly juicy, right? And it is! Not only are the characters depicted in an intensely detailed way, the writing itself is almost lyrical. One sentence that really sticks in my mind reads: “The young woman heard the cry of locusts pulsating in the scorched air.” So amazingly vivid!

One would imagine that such a book would be difficult to write and I found the backstory to be almost as interesting. According to Dorah, Botticelli’s Muse took her over 20 years to complete, with the original seed being planted all the way back in 1963 during a trip she took to Italy at age 19. 

To accompany the novel, there are 5 free coloring pages available which are a lot of fun, too.

Anyone who enjoys historical fiction should definitely pick up a copy of Botticelli’s Muse. Learn more about the book and connect with the author on her website.

Up All Night? “The Nocturnal Journal” is Worth Reading

As someone who has battled insomnia for over 20 years, I’ve tried pretty much everything available to induce sleepiness—Nyquil, Lavender oil, white noise machine, eyeshades, melatonin, eliminating blue light, special sheets, etc.

I’ve had limited success with individual products and with using them in conjunction, but some nights, no matter what I do, I simply am too wound up to get any rest. Typically, that results in a Netflix binge session, which occupies my time, but does little to quiet my mind.

The Nocturnal Journal, a new book by author Lee Crutchley, provides a good alternative for the occasionally and chronically sleepless. While it’s labeled a journal, I consider it more of an activity book, and the subtitle “A Late Night Exploration of What’s Really on Your Mind,” reflects that. The book doesn’t put you to sleep, it helps you figure out why you can’t.

Packed with leading questions, word associations, letter-writing prompts, fun lists, and thought-provoking ideas, The Nocturnal Journal is part distraction, part self-help. I found the activities to be soothing and entertaining. Certain pages that discuss bad memories or fears tend to wind me up, so I avoid those, but there is a lot of good material in the whole book and it’s easy to pick and choose which pages will work for you.

My favorite section is a blank page that’s entitled “Fill This Box With All of Your Worries.” It’s true that minor things can seem major when we’re alone in the middle of the night, and having the opportunity to scribble it out was a such a relief. The funny part is that my #1 worry was: I’m so tired, yet I can’t sleep! Another section I really enjoyed was made for adult coloring. I am terrible at drawing, but pulling out the colored pencils is fun anyway, even if it looks like a mess.

An entertaining reading and writing prompt to quiet down an overactive brain, Insomniacs, teens that refuse to go to bed, and creative/artistic types will love The Nocturnal Journal. It would also be a great addition to a carry-on bag for a red eye flight. 

Healing After an Unthinkable Tragedy

Nobody is immune from pain, suffering, illness, misery, and hardship—life is a constant rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. While most misfortune can be overcome eventually, there are certain types of loss that are so devastating, so unthinkable, it’s almost impossible to deal with, let alone recover from. This guest post from Theresa James is very difficult to read, let alone imagine happening firsthand (I literally sobbed!). She has lived through the absolute worst tragedy that could strike any mother and made it to the other side. Anyone who is feeling exceptionally low will find hope in her difficult journey.

It’s often said that everyone has a story to tell. My story is different than most, but perhaps others will be able to relate, having dealt with their own hardships. The full account can be found in my book, Healing Tears, but the following will provide an overview:

My nightmare began in the summer of 1998. Just days after my divorce was final, my ex-husband broke into my house and murdered my three children before killing himself. I believe he left me alive to live a “hell on earth,” and truly, that’s what it was—an absolute hell.

During the divorce process, which was exceptionally was ugly, I had journaled daily to cope. After my children’s deaths, I continued to write and express my emotions on paper—my anger, hatred, devastation and grief. I missed them so much it was nearly unbearable!

After almost a year of making notes, I decided to put them into book format, which took another year. Reliving everything that happened forced me to work through those emotions, and I promised myself that I would not give in, nor would I give up. I knew my children would not want me to succumb to the negative thoughts and feelings; they would want me to have love, joy and happiness again. Though I was dealing with tremendous pain and grief, I was fortunate to have unconditional love and support from my family and friends. I also worked with an incredible therapist who helped me keep my sanity.

The healing process is just that: a process. There is no quick fix. In 1999, I made the decision to get remarried, to a wonderful man whom I had known for many years prior. During the next 16 years, I tried to live a “normal” life with Todd and his two children. I changed careers and we moved to another state. I made new friends and only shared my private pain with a select few. 

In 2008, Todd and I moved to the Chicagoland area due to a job change for him. I again sought the assistance of a therapist and continued the sessions  I started years earlier. In the summer of 2016, I decided it was time to release my story to the public. (Publishing my book was always my goal, but I felt that back when it first occurred, I was not ready, mentally and emotionally, to release it.)

Sadly, our society now deals with horrible crimes more frequently and other mothers have experienced the same type of loss. My wish is that anyone who reads my story will find the inspiration to overcome their own struggles, whatever those may be. I want to encourage others to share their own stories, as well. The more we share with others, the more we will develop compassion and understanding. Each one of us is trying to do the best that we can while working through life’s struggles, seeking love. None of us should have to do it alone.

About the Author:

Theresa James is a writer and a proud veteran of the US Air Force. She has triumphed over tragedy by using her experience as a crime victim to create books of hope and healing, inspired and cheered on from above by the memory of her beloved children Sean, Jarod, and Brandi. She and her husband live in Indiana. Connect with Theresa through her website.