Amazing YOU!: A Celebration Of Individuality! By Connie Goyette Crawley Review!

Amazing YOU! A Celebration of Individuality

Amazing YOU!: A Celebration Of Individuality! (2016) by Connie Goyette Crawley is a lovely childrens’ book.

 

The book is about protagonist Jenna and an elephant Ed, a zebra Maxine, a hippo Sue, a giraffe Paul, a monkey Mike and a rhino Jax. Each of them have something about them which they see as a flaw and wish to change. The book has a fantastic message about embracing your individuality and respecting the differences in both yourself and other people. It is a lovely story of friendship and kindness. The illustrations are also wonderful and really get the author’s story across really well.

This was a joy to read. I think it’s wonderful that there is a book out there like this for children in a world where kids are not always encouraged to embrace their individuality and may face bullying. It shows that there is others out there who will not judge you with the same horrible cruelty and therefore the message the writer puts across here in a very entertaining and sweet way is a very vital message. It is also a great book for adults as it is a nice reminder to be confident in you as even we have moments where we forget to embrace who we are too. And it is a reminder to us all that everyone has insecurities about something too.

A really beautiful book.

To purchase Amazing YOU!: A Celebration Of Individuality! by Connie Goyette Crawley go to:

 

For more about Connie Goyette Crawley and her work go to:

https://www.conniecrawley.com

 

 

5 YouTube Videos To Watch This Week!

Hey everyone! 🙂

 

It is that time of week again. Here is my five recommendations to watch this week:

 

Social Issues

This video talks about many signs to watch out for in regards to gaslighting. It is something which I have faced in my life and I think it is important that people know the signs because it can be incredibly dangerous when one doesn’t know them as I know from experience myself. Keep yourself and your mind safe y’all. It can be fragile even though you think it never could be.

 

Life Advice

Here is a great video about things which can be helpful mainly in health situations. I think I’m going to miss using my butter to ease my pain. Main advice from here: go to the hospital!

 

Music

This is a great bop by Janelle Monáe. I love the video of Make Me Feel too which is so fun, creative and a celebration of pansexuality and panromanticism.

 

Featuring queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race alongside the fabulous Lizzo, this smash Juice is great to dance to and is a fantastic, fun video too.

 

Photography

I found this a very interesting story about the famous photograph from 1932 called Lunch atop a Skyscraper. This short video speaks about the story behind the photograph. Many men from different backgrounds literally risked their lives while they were working as construction workers on the Rockefeller Center. Actually the photographers did too. While it is thought that the actual photograph was staged, there is still no denying that these men were up there regularly working in a very dangerous situation and were certainly heroes. The photographers even were to do it for the day! I would never! Very interesting video.

The Mysterious Affair At Styles By Agatha Christie Review!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie is the author’s first published novel and the first time we meet Hercule Poirot, Hastings and Japp.

Emily Inglethorp is poisoned and dies. Hastings alerts Poirot to the case and he begins investigating the murder which happened in the Essex countryside in Styles Court. It was great to see where it all really started taking off for Christie because I’m a huge fan. It was an historic moment in literature. I really enjoyed it. I liked the story and the mystery of it. It runs very smoothly and look, Christie is a great writer so the talent was there from the jump as it so often is with great writers. We get to begin to know Poirot here but Christie cleverly leaves much to learn about him in books she was hoping to write with him in future clearly. It is admirable the work she put into this book when she wasn’t sure at this stage if she was going to have the success she ended up deservedly having. She clearly loved writing and I love that in her.

There is a flaw to this book. I did read a racist slur in it and it didn’t feel like it was there to highlight racism in a bid to condemn it. It was just there and it was ugly. I know many people would say ‘time, context’ and that’s fair enough but it’s not how I see things. If I think something is wrong whenever it was written, I don’t pass it over. So yeah, for me personally that was a flaw. I do love Agatha but that was incredibly disappointing to read.

The ending of this is great. I didn’t solve the mystery. It is a brilliant whodunnit. It is not an easy mystery by any means to work out and the red herrings in it are very well put into the plot.

Amazing read.

To purchase The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie go to:

For more about Agatha Christie and her work go to:

https://www.agathachristie.com/

A Christmas Memory By Truman Capote Review!

A Christmas Memory (Book & CD): Amazon.de: Truman Capote ...

 

A Christmas Memory (1956) by Truman Capote is a beautiful short story. The story was first published in Mademoiselle magazine.

 

The story, which takes place in the 1930s, is very autobiographical. It is told from the POV of a seven-year-old boy who is unnamed but is called Buddy by his cousin. Buddy is based on Capote when he was a young boy. His cousin Sook is based on his cousin Sook and is referred to as my friend. Sook was Capote’s cousin and best friend. The pair live with other relatives and the dog Queenie and are not very rich. However, they both love Christmas and save up to make the occasion amazing every year.

Fruitcakes are a big part of this story. Buddy and Sook made them every Christmas. They go and collect pecans for the fruitcakes and purchase other things they need like whiskey from bootlegger Haha Jones. These fruitcakes, which take four days to create, they send to acquaintances and famous people. They also go to get the Christmas tree and make decorations for it as well as gifts for everyone. They make each other a kite as a present and go fly them together. It is their last Christmas together as Buddy is sent off to Military school the following year and they never got to spend another Christmas together before Sook’s death.

This story is a beautiful story of family and friendship. Buddy and Sook really care for each other and love spending time together. It’s obvious the love and warmth that is there for each other. It is so moving to read. They just get each other and they have each other’s backs and it’s lovely. I think they are both fun and non-conformist and happy. I really like both characters and their relationship with each other. It makes you feel all warm and happy inside reading it.

The only thing I thought was a huge problem was how Sook allowed Buddy to drink the leftover whiskey and they both got drunk. I still like her but that was not responsible by any means!

The end of this book is heartbreaking. It is what happens in life. It’s based on truth so it would be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rip your heart (which has been filled with heart-warming feelings up to this point) out and make you feel so sad. Because prior to that you are reading about their beautiful relationship and then there is just the memories. It reminds you to cherish the moments you have with your own loved ones because nothing will last forever.

Oh, and I love Queenie too! 🙂

It’s a gorgeous story. It’s a must-read.

 

To purchase A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote go to:

 

For more about Truman Capote and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/431149.Truman_Capote

Baby Doll By Tennessee Williams Review!

Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams

 

Baby Doll (1956) by Tennessee Williams is a great classic play.

 

Set in 1950’s Mississippi, the play tells the story of protagonist Baby Doll’s marriage to her older husband Archie Lee Meighan. She does not want to consummate their marriage. The opening of the Syndicate Plantation has ensured that Archie’s business is going badly and he is therefore finding it difficult to look after Baby Doll and her aunt Aunt Rose Comfort. He sets fire to the Syndicate Plantation and forces Baby Doll to be his alibi. The manager of the Syndicate Plantation Silva Vacarro comes to see them. While Baby Doll is lying to the man, she and Silva also have a sexual chemistry with each other that she does not feel for her husband. Soon, they are left alone together and Silva manages to get Baby Doll to sign an affidavit saying Archie set the fire. Silva is going to go after his mission is complete but Baby Doll asks him to stay which he does.

 

I really like the play. I think the chemistry between Baby Doll and Silva is very well-written. I think the way she reacts with him as opposed to Archie is so different and therefore shows different sides to her personality in different circumstances. I love the way this play incorporates a lot of feminism in it. The idea of traditional roles of women is challenged as is the view that women can’t have great sexual appetites. This play puts across the idea that women have a right to be in control of their own lives and their own desires. It challenges the idea that the only things a woman is good for are motherhood and marriage and the idea that anything else we aren’t good for or that no other dreams or ambitions would even pass through our minds.

I think Williams wrote the dynamics between Baby Doll and Archie perfectly. Archie clearly wants a very submissive wife and Baby Doll increasingly is anything but. She is a strong woman who gradually begins more and more to know her worth though she always has a little bit of that even at the start but her confidence grows throughout for sure. Unable to control Baby Doll, Archie feels insecure and inferior and their two personalities and perspectives cause a lot of conflict between them. This story has a lot of gaslighting on Archie’s part as he tries to control Baby Doll. To highlight this in 1956 was very brave of Williams to do. Baby Doll is very likeable and strong but she is put down a lot by her controlling, bigoted husband who likes to start fires of his competitors’ businesses. The message is powerful: look at who is saying it and don’t listen. But that isn’t always easy to do especially when one is put down regularly and Williams writes this perfectly with great sensitivity.

 

An excellent read. A must-read.

 

To purchase Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams go to:

 

 

For more about Tennessee Williams and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751.Tennessee_Williams

 

Orlando By Virginia Woolf Review!

Queer Classics: Orlando by Virginia Woolf | Mr Volpone

 

Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf is an amazing read.

 

The plot follows protagonist Orlando and is set in England in the period of Elizabeth I’s reign. Orlando is a transgender woman who transitions at 30. She goes on to live for 300 years. She is an avid writer and dedicates much of her life to writing and learning her craft especially in her writing of her poem The Oak Tree. She has numerous relationships over the course of her long life with both men and women including a princess Sasha who cheats on her with a seaman, Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine who proposes marriage to her but chooses his career over her love and Archduke Harry who she goes to great lengths to be rid of. The book includes Alexander Pope who Orlando has a romantic moment with.

The character of Orlando was based on Woolf’s girlfriend and afterwards friend Vita Sackville-West. You could tell from reading about this book that Woolf really enjoyed writing this book and that came across in the writing. I liked Orlando. She had her classist ways but there was so much very likeable about her. I also was very fond of Archduke Harry but it wasn’t and never was going to be between them! We get to really know Orlando and though the book has not too many major plot lines, what we get is a look at the mundane of life and the hopes and dreams of life and the moments of significance in the middle of it all. It is a very character-driven book and Woolf does a great job of putting across Orlando’s character in all her various aspects from thinking to acting, etc …

I think the way the different ways in which Orlando is treated when the world thinks of her as a man as opposed to when they think of her as a woman is very well put across. I also love that this book was written in 1928 showing that in so many ways Woolf was very much ahead of her time. I love that she had the guts to write a book like this in that time.

There is issues with the book however. While Woolf is very forward-thinking in so much of this book, she certainly wasn’t in some ways. There is some glaring racist slurs used as well as another discriminatory slur used for the Romani people. These are obviously problematic elements which readers would need to know are there before reading this book.

There is unfortunately issues like I said in the previous paragraph and I seriously and obviously wish that Woolf did not include those slurs. Otherwise this book is a masterpiece. I loved it otherwise so first and foremost it is terrible those slurs are there but it is also a pity they are. Because in so many ways this book is incredibly socially conscious and yet in certain parts it just really isn’t. I think it’s a must-read but that doesn’t mean in any way I condone parts of this book.

 

To get your free copy of Orlando by Virginia Woolf go to:

https://www.globalgreyebooks.com/orlando-a-biography-ebook.html

For more about Virginia Woolf and her work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6765.Virginia_Woolf

 

 

My New Book Hidden Is Now Available!

Hidden by [Lisa Reynolds]

 

Hi everyone! 🙂

 

My new book Hidden is now available to purchase through Amazon. The plot goes as follows:

Drag queen and fashion designer Victor Cessna, or Esme Chambers, in drag is caught up in a murder mystery involving expensive missing emeralds after hearing the shot which killed a Senator’s husband outside a gay night club. With weird messages coming through on the internet and his own mental health issues to contend with, Victor must solve the crime, with help from his friends Mitch and Lamonte, before he is killed.

I loved writing the book. Victor appeared in other books of mine before After The Fishing Trip and Xmas With The Fam but he was a minor character in them (& obviously that wouldn’t suit Vic! :-)) so here he is as the protagonist. I love him to bits and most of the characters too and if you choose to purchase the book, thank you in advance. 🙂

 

To purchase Hidden go to:

https://payhip.com/b/yJQk

The Red-Headed League By Arthur Conan Doyle Review!

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Red Headed League

 

The Red-Headed League (1891) by Arthur Conan Doyle is a great short story which first appeared in The Strand Magazine.

 

In this story, Sherlock Holmes is visited by a pawnbroker called Jabez Wilson. The man tells Holmes and Watson how his assistant Vincent Spaulding brought his attention to a job advertisement seeking only males with red hair. Interested, Wilson applied and though there was many applicants, he was the only one took on. He worked there for eight weeks before one day seeing a sign saying “THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED” – Oct 9, 1890.” and when he asks the landlord about Duncan Ross, manager of the league’s office, the landlord does not know who Duncan Ross is.

I found it an interesting read. I must say though there is not a lot of suspense in this story. I think from early on, it is quite obvious but like all the Sherlock short stories I have read it was still an entertaining way to spend time while having a coffee. I enjoyed it but I just found the mystery element of it quite weak. But also there was some great descriptive elements and dialogue. However overall, not one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s best but not bad. It was ok.

 

To get your free copy of The Red-Headed League by Arthur Conan Doyle go to:

Click to access redh.pdf

 

And for more about Arthur Conan Doyle and his work go to:

At Bertram’s Hotel By Agatha Christie Review!

At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple, #11)

 

At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) by Agatha Christie is another great mystery book by the author.

 

This is one of Miss. Marple’s outings. Here, she revisits Bertram’s Hotel where she stayed as a child. But of course Miss. Marple is not going to have a nice, pleasant stay. While she is there, someone is murdered. While Marple is marveling at how the hotel has not changed much, she is thrown into a complex mystery that involves a man Michael “Micky” Gorman who works as a doorman at the hotel been killed. He was killed outside the hotel by a shot that came from inside.

There is a great cast of characters in this book and equally interesting subplots which are used as red herrings for the murder side of the story. I like how it was all weaved together. My only flaw with this is the ending. I did see a dramatization of it once and the ending was better than the ending in the book. The mystery of it worked, the loopholes were tied up but the ending in the book did feel a little contrived and messy which is a pity because the rest of it is great. As I always say, endings of mysteries are hard to do but it was the only flaw I had with the book. Otherwise I found it an intriguing and entertaining read. I found the setting great and I enjoyed the book for the most part.

Fantastic read.

 

To purchase At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie go to:

 

 

For more about Agatha Christie and her work go to:

http://www.agathachristie.com/

Six Centuries Of English Poetry: Tennyson To Chaucer By James Baldwin Review!

Six Centuries of English Poetry from Tennyson to Chaucer: Typical Selections from the Great Poets (1892)

 

Six Centuries of English Poetry: Tennyson to Chaucer (1892) by James Baldwin is a wonderful collection of poetry by many poets of the past.

 

This collection includes many poets including William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Robbie Burns, John Keats, Alexander Pope, John Skelton, William Shakespeare, William Cowper, Percy Shelly, Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred, Lord Tennyson among others. The book has poems and parts of poems and goes in a backwards order starting at the 19th century. There is notes to explain words and parts accompanying many poems which is very helpful and interesting biographical information about each poet who is included in the book. There is also a section on ballads which was very interesting and entertaining. It is a wonderful overview of many amazing poets, the times they wrote in and their work. The book certainly encouraged me to read more work in the future by a lot of these poets. I loved reading about the biographies and seeing the different perspectives the poets wrote from. That was really interesting.

There is downsides to the book. It isn’t very diverse in the choice of poets and therefore doesn’t show ideas or the times from a lot of different perspectives. There is also a certain amount of classism in this book and is present in Robbie Burns’ biography with some of the language used.

A really great read but definitely has problematic elements.

 

To get your free copy of Six Centuries of English Poetry: Tennyson to Chaucer by James Baldwin go to:

 

For more about James Baldwin and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3463650.James_Baldwin