Sunday, April 28, 2019

Camino Island

I have read all of John Grisham’s books to date and I have liked all of them, though some less than others. Still, I think he’s a great writer and he always keeps my interest. Until the last one.

I recently read Camino Island. At first, I was enjoying it. The writer made me wonder where the story was going, who would get caught, who may get killed, and so on. As the story went on, I became somewhat bored, and by the time I hit the pages in the 200’s, I was definitely bored. I also didn’t like the characters much, but especially the main character. She was wishy washy in her role and, in my opinion, a little arrogant. Maybe that’s how Grisham wanted us to feel about her. I wasn’t impressed.

So, on Goodreads I rated this book a 3 and I hate doing that, especially for authors I typically enjoy. This one was a book I just couldn’t give more than a 3 rating.  Sorry John, I’ll try your next book.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Fly Fisherman and Author, Mark Usyk

Meet Mark.  Mark is an ordinary guy who loves to fly fish and hang out in the good old outdoors. He is a dad, a fisherman, a writer, and an all-out real person. He has written and published two books to date, and doesn’t plan to stop. And he shouldn’t! 
I read his last book because I was the editor. I was unsure at first, thinking oh man, a book about fishing…yawn, I don’t even like fishing!! But after the first page, I was hooked (no pun intended). Not only is Mark a great storyteller, but he writes about real-life stuff. It’s not just about fishing…it’s way more than that. It’s experiences in life; it’s things gained and things lost. 

Mark’s first book is called Reflections of a Fly Rod and I will admit, I haven’t read that one yet. When my husband first bought a copy, I thought the same thing as when Mark asked me to edit his second book…yawn, I don’t even like fishing. But after reading his second book, I definitely want to read his first. But here is an excerpt to give you a little idea:
Fish stories are like opinions. Everybody’s got one. The difference is, people actually enjoy a good fish story. In his first book, Mark Usyk sets out to prove that he not only has a couple, but that he knows how to tell them as well. But are they really all fish stories? Or is he trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe as only an angler can? From his time as a cell tower climber with a bunch of fly rods packed alongside his climbing gear, to his days spent at a grungy and thankless production factory job indoors and all but cut off from the great outdoors, to memories of simpler days and the ones that got away, here are 61 short stories told by a self-proclaimed marginal fly fisherman. Whether they’re about fishing or something more is up to you to decide.

His second book is Carp are Jerks. Funny title but true (you’ll know why if you read the book). In this book, you’ll go on an adventure with Mark from ordinary fly-fishing adventures to outdoor adventures with his kids, his friends, and even people he hadn’t met until the adventure! When I edit, I always print the manuscript and do a final read-through, just in case. When I read the final work of Carp are Jerks, I laughed in places, I teared up in places, and even nodded my head in agreement to certain things. The most fun was getting excited when people were fishing and actually caught something! Mark’s book will definitely bring out emotion.
Mark’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. You can purchase his books as hard copies or as Kindle versions. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Don’t look at the title or cover and say “I don’t even like fishing”…don’t make that mistake. The stories go beyond fishing and you won’t want to miss out.

If you’re in the area on May 4th, you can meet Mark (and the illustrator of the cover of Carp are Jerks) at 16 Stone Brewpub, Holland Patent, NY at 6pm and purchase his newest book and have it signed. For all locals, let’s support our local authors and attend some book signing events!

If you’re not able to make a book signing, find Mark’s books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! And please, leave a review if you read any of his books. Positive reviews help authors a great deal!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Memories

My mother always made holidays fun for my sister and I. We lived in a time where the holidays weren’t about the gifts, or the amount of gifts, but God and family. 

Take Easter, for example. I love my Easter memories! Every year, my mom would fill an Easter basket (from the Easter Bunny, of course) and hide our baskets while we slept. Grandma did the same for her son (my uncle) who is only seven years older than I, so he was more like a brother. On Easter morning, my sister and uncle and I would run downstairs and look for our baskets. I remember finding mine in places such as the bathtub, the cereal cupboard, the dryer or under a pile of clothes in the laundry room. Our baskets were filled with Easter grass, jelly beans and assorted Easter candy (and, of course, the hollow chocolate fave!!). That’s all we needed and we were happy.
 image from

Later, we’d all get dressed up and go to church. After church, we’d have a wonderful ham dinner cooked by my grandmother and later visit family while drinking coffee and eating cake (grandma baked a cake shaped like a lamb).
 *this was not my gram's cake...image from

Those were definitely the good days. When my stepchildren were growing up, my husband and I had Easter baskets for them but we didn’t hide them (not sure why) and though they were filled with candy, there also a few extra items such as little journals, matchbox cars, and other small toys.

I’m glad I have my memories.