20 May 2018

Review: The Buried Book

The Buried BookThe Buried Book by D.M. Pulley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nine year old Jasper gets pulled out of Detroit City in the 1950s to be left on his uncle's farm. His mother had got caught up in something (which of course gets resolved and explained by the end) and leaves him there for his own safety. She never expects him to find her old diary and begin asking questions, questions most adults would even have a hard time with.

Jasper reminds me alot of Scout from "To Kill A Mockingbird" in that both Jasper and Scout are about the same age in the story and find themselves face to face with some ugly adult happenings. Scout learned of racial opinions. Jasper learned of many issues. Society still struggles with many of them and the shame that goes along with them.

D.M Pulley really made the two boys - Jasper and his older cousin - come alive and feel real. All the main characters came alive, to be fair. From an editorial point of view, the story ran smoothly with one exception. When Jasper and the Detective show up at the Reservation, the background explanations almost seem a little rushed or forced.

I did love - to leave things on a positive note - the title of the book and the unsaid meaning, or at least the meaning I took from that scene. Jasper, with his cousin's help, bury the book at their grandmother's farm where it was first found. The scene prior has Jasper saying "I forgive you." to his mom and telling her it is okay. So, to me, burying the book was the final forgiveness and closing of that chapter of their lives.

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© 2018, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

13 May 2018

Goodreads A-Z Challenge

The goal of this challenge on Goodreads is of course to read a book beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

A - The Amber Keeper by Freeda Lightfoot
B - Better Dead by Pamela Kopfler (A B&B Spirits Mystery #1)
C - Confessions of a Funeral Director by Caleb Wilde
H - A Haunted Murder by J. A. Whiting (A Lin Coffin Mystery #1)
M - Midnight in the Piazza by Tiffany Parks <-- a Goodreads giveaway win!
Y - You Can Compete!: The Retail Doctor's Tools to Double Your Sales by Bob Phipps

Other books:
A Magical Match by Juliet Blackwell (A Witchcraft Mystery #9)

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© 2018, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

07 April 2018

Review: A Magical Match

A Magical Match (A Witchcraft Mystery #9)A Magical Match by Juliet Blackwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Could not put it down! Juliet Blackwell does not disappoint in her latest of the A Witchcraft Mystery series.

With Sailor in jail through most of the novel, Blackwell built a lot of backstory in. Confirmed a great deal about Lily and her past. Blackwell also foreshadowed quite a bit. Met her grandmother and her coven! Can't wait til her next in the series!

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© 2018, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

23 February 2018

Review: Confessions of a Funeral Director

Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My LifeConfessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life by Caleb Wilde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this at a book signing Caleb was at. I went to support a local guy, a fellow Octorara graduate, and because I have been following his blog of the same name since early on. I have to admit, until I stumbled on his blog, I didn't really know Caleb. His parents, I knew. His grandfathers, I knew.

I love his style of writing. In some aspects, it's like we're sitting down talking. In other aspects, I feel like I'm reading his journal. It fits as I read through stories of his own struggles as to if joining the family business was the right decision for him.

His words gave me a mixed sense, I have to admit. There were some parts I cried, like the mother who sat holding her young cancer-afflicted child on her lap. There were some parts, I muttered in disbelief, like when he was called to remove a man in a seedy hotel and the police warned about needles all over.

For better or worse, I had held on to his book for awhile before I actually sat down to read it. The night I picked it up was the night I came home from talking to his father about my Dad's final arrangements. His book made me appreciate the work and the mental anguish that funeral directors also go through on a daily basis.

Thank you, Caleb.

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(c) 2018, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

27 January 2018

Review: Midnight by the Piazza

Midnight in the PiazzaMidnight in the Piazza by Tiffany Parks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a girl who grew up on Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, I personally enjoyed reading about 13 year old Beatrice Archer and how she solved the missing turtles and other woks of art. Tiffany Parks does a great job visualizing Beatrice as she follows her instinct and the clues.

Parks did an excellent job capturing the feel of a 13 year old girl, who was being torn away from everything she knew and set loose in a new place. She also convinced me that we were in Italy. My one issue, more as a parent than a potential young adult reading this, is that I would never allow my 13 year old daughter to wander free in a new country with such a language barrier. I also doubted that a university professor was not more computer literate.

That said, all in all I enjoyed the book and would suggest it to any young adult who enjoys mysteries, or travel.

The book I read was a paperback not an ebook but I did not have that option. I did acquire the book through a giveaway here on Goodreads.

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(c) 2018, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

15 January 2018

Book Review: You Can Compete!

You Can Compete!: The Retail Doctor's Tools to Double Your SalesYou Can Compete!: The Retail Doctor's Tools to Double Your Sales by Bob Phibbs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A must read for anyone in business. Great explanations and examples of how to train salespeople, how to treat customers, and how to grow your business. I'm looking forward to trying out a few ideas I had while reading Bob Phibbs' book .

Key points
- Building a relationships with your customers is vital. (Seems like a no brainer and kind of sad that we need to be reminded of this point).
- Employees are a company's most valuable asset. (I totally agree).
- Scripts are a helpful tool. (Yes, winging it often leads to forgetting things or giving away the milk for free)
- Training checklists are a great training tool (I'm not quite their yet although I do have writer's guidelines which is essentially the same)

Phibb's also offered several great marketing and advertising ideas. I intend on implementing quite a few. Some have to be altered to suit my business ... which, by the way, is Therapeutic Thymes Magazine. We are a quarterly magazine dedicated to promoting a more natural, therapeutic, and sustainable way of life, bringing the experts to you! Our website is http://therapeuticthymes.com.

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15 June 2016

2016 Reading Challenge Update

This Challenge was put up through Goodreads and I originally posted back in January on the 21st. Today is just an update. Halfway through the year, I thought it might be a good idea to review my progress!

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)
1. North America - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
2. South America
3. Africa
4. Antarctica
5. Europe
6. Asia - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
7. Australia

8.   A book on Pennsylvania history
9.   An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)
10. Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
11. A dead author's last book
12. An Irish genealogy related book
13. A book your favorite author loves
14. A retold fairytale
15. A Young Adult book
16. A history book (fiction or non-fiction)
17. A book where you have seen the movie, but not read the book
18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list
19. A book with the point of view of an immigrant
20. A controversial book
21. The first book you see when you walk into a library or bookstore
22. A classic
23. A debut novel
24. Published this year (2016) - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
25. Based entirely on the cover
26. Own but never read
27. A book by an author you never read before - Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu
28. A book recommended to you by a friendly librarian
29. A book by a Nobel Prize winner
30. Mythology (not just Greek)
31. A book written by someone born the same year as you
32. A business book - Miller's Bolt: A Modern Business Parable by Thomas Stirr
33. Reread of a favorite book
34. A book about books
35. Book published the year you graduated high school
36. A book a child/teen/someone younger than you loves
37. A book about/set by the sea Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
38. A book with two authors
39. Author from your own state, province, or country
40. A book about a trip (road, cruise, around the world)
41. A book with the name of a person in the title
42. Science Fiction
43. Fantasy
44. Wild card - Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert
45. Wild card - Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
46. Wild card - Mourning Glory by Susan Wittig Albert
47. Wild card - Widow's Tears by Susan Wittig Albert
48. Wild card - Death Comes Quickly by Susan Wittig Albert
49. Wild card
50. Wild card
51. Wild card
52. Wild card    

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016