Audiobook Review | “Looking for Betty MacDonald” written and narrated by Paula Becker

Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. The Egg and I blog tour marks my second tour wherein I have become quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Looking for Betty MacDonald” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the narrator/author Paula Becker) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to listen to this biography of Betty MacDonald:

I suppose I wanted to give myself a capstone to my listening hours spent inside the world of Betty MacDonald; as the narratives were capturing of my attention for the past several months. I had a rough start with them before the close of 2016 (mostly due to personal circumstances which took me away from books in general) but by the time I entered The Plague and I; I had found my footing. I had a feeling it might be a good idea to listen to this biography if only to have closure on the journey and to listen to someone else trying to find Betty of whom I think has remained a bit shadowed in history. Her memoirs have remained in print but how much of the real Betty do any of us really and truly know!? I wondered if she might have kept a few things hidden; private and away from the eyes of the public.

I was originally supposed to host an interview attached to this review – somewhere along the way, I completely forgot about it. When I had three weeks of struggling through a bout of pollen allergies (late March/early April) all hope of sorting this interview out went out the window as I missed the deadline. I can only hope the author would understand if she sees this note now on my review. Just getting back to a place where I could pick up books again without fear of sneezing half a lung out of my chest was a joy in of itself! Pollen is such a horrid allergy but sometimes it provides a blunt entrance to Spring. Thankfully, I could find something else to appreciate about Spring this year and that was a renewal of balance and of finding my way with reading and blogging once again.

I am unsure what drew my interest into the MacDonald memoirs initially; it’s so long ago now since I first queued them into my schedule. One thing is for certain, I won’t soon forget my time listening to her quirkified memoirs and her resilience to get through everything which came across her path to overcome. There is strength in listening to someone’s story which grew bolder in adversity to recognise there are moments that will test our resolves but it’s how we rise to greet those obstacles and surpass them that gives us a proper sense of what we can humbling say was a period of growth and learning.

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Audiobook Review | “Looking for Betty MacDonald” written and narrated by Paula BeckerLooking for Betty MacDonald
Subtitle: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I
by Paula Becker
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions

Betty Bard MacDonald (1907-1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children's books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, and The Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald's vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life.

In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald's Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle),Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald's archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ASIN: B01LW1RMM9

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Non-Fiction


Published by Post Hypnotic Press

on 14th September, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Post Hypnotic Press (@Post_Hypnotic)

About Paula Becker

Paula Becker

Paula Becker is a writer and historian living in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the book Looking For Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I (University of Washington Press), and co-author (with Alan J. Stein) of the books The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair And Its Legacy (Seattle Center Foundation, 2011) and Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Washington’s First World’s Fair (History Ink/HistoryLink in association with University of Washington Press, 2009).

More than 300 of Paula’s essays documenting all aspects of Washington’s history appear on HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history, where she is a staff historian.

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Posted Friday, 28 April, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye projects for your home & wardrobe” by Sasha Duerr #BloggingForBooks

Posted Thursday, 27 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Fiber Art Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Natural Color” direct from the publisher Watson-Guptill (an imprint of Crown Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to review a book about Natural Dyes:

As I have intermittently tweeted on Twitter and mentioned off-handedly on my blog, I am a knitty girl at heart who loves creating projects out of the stitches she casts onto her bamboo needles! The afterglow of feeling the Zen of creativity by knitting is wondrous, too! I feel renewed somehow by the method of focusing on stitches and the throwing of yarn one inch at a time whilst creating this wholly new ‘something’ out of what as once a simple hank or skein of yarn!

I took up knitting alongside my Mum, as we were seeking a new Mum & daughter hobby we could pursue together that was a bit easier on the budget than rubberstamp art & mixed media collage; inasmuch as saving on long distance commute times, as the former only had shoppes which were so far afield from our local region, you had to nearly had to take a TARDIS just to arrive home in time! Laughs. No seriously! We felt it was time to re-direct our time and creative hearts – so whilst I was saying ‘good-bye’ to my twenties we discovered we both were itching to take up knitting!

Mum was returning to the craft after *forty!* plus years absent from it’s yarny blissitude and I, was the dyslexic whose previously failed attempt to learn how to properly cast-on was not going to blind her to the prospect of finding a teacher *somewhere!* who could get her to master the long lost art by combining two styles of knitting to formulate her own hybrid style! The way I approach knitting is AmeriBritish inasmuch as my personal writing voice reflects the unique combination of bi-continental influences!

When we first started to notice we were ‘catching-on’ to knitting together with a fierce passion, we started to dream a bit about what we could do in the future with our ‘newfound’ love and skill set! Mum was re-encouraging herself to contemplate picking up crochet on the side; whereas I decided that would muddle knitting for me if I attempted it. (too confusing to keep it all separate!) Whilst I started leaning towards natural dyes, more complicated patterns (ie. my heart is set on learning Fair Isle!) and potentially learning how to spin roving.We started to contemplate how to move forward in our journey with fiber arts, each finding our own pathways to walk! Some of what we want to do is together and a few times we’ll divert and take separate paths!

The beauty for us both, is finding a green and natural way to craft! I developed several allergies in childhood and as an adult, I live as green as I can by using alternative household products and by seeking out arts and craft projects which do not upset my allergy triggers by the toxicity of products which tend to flood the market. This is one reason why we love using Natural Yarns (except for the synthetics we sometimes receive as Charity Knitters; such as Acrylic); and by extension, a natural way to dye our own yarn would be quite ideal! Hence why I was so wicked excitement when I first saw this book come up for review! Imagining how we could take our love of this craft one step further and find ways to ‘create our own fiber colour palette’ naturally would be incredible!

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Posted Thursday, 27 April, 2017 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book Review (non-blog tour), Eco-Friendly, Education & Learning, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Horticulture, Knitting, Non-Fiction, Old World Arts & Crafts, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upcycle & Recycle Practices

Double Showcase: Book Review & Author Interview | “Red-tailed Hawk” the sequel of “Yellow-billed Magpie” by Nancy Schoellkopf

Posted Tuesday, 25 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Red-tailed Hawk” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I was thankful to be on the blog tour as I originally participated on the previous release ‘Yellow-billed Magpie’ tour which is when I first read a work by the author. It is a joy to resume where I left off as this is a connected story; a duology if you will. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Nancy Schoellkopf in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What I enjoyed about Yellow-billed Magpie:

I happen to love introspective stories – the kind where you can tug yourself inside a person’s soul whilst your soaking inside their life’s journey. Schoellkopf writes inter-personal narrative with a keen insight into an emotional rewinding of memory and the questions which taut you to interlope back against one’s life. She has crafted a story which has it’s own set of pacing and tone; it’s a lovely layout to read, because the paragraphs are chunky and free-form in how their delivered. A novel which is half poetic in it’s centering and artful in it’s descriptive details. You nearly feel this is partially written as a journal, as your peering through a window into Samantha’s life at a rate of acceptance she is giving you to learn of her story.

Ms Schoellkopf’s writings are a bit raw in places and openly vulnerable in others – she gives her characters breathing room to explore their emotions and the inner turmoil they are facing with an openness towards self-reflection. She finds a way to give her characters the ability to think about what they are going through in a way that translates well to the reader about where their frustrations lie and how they sometimes feel immobilised by their fears.

I enjoyed how she broke the narrative into pieces of introspective wanderings, internal musings of a woman’s dreams, and the conversations of dialogue which sparked interactions between her characters. She found a fusion between traditional story-telling and a new hybrid version where the pace of her story has it’s own rhythm and way of giving us an inside view of one woman’s journey towards self-understanding and acceptance of what her life is providing her to live through. She’s questioning everything and anything in order to make herself rooted in her experience. Taking out what she hopes is self-assurance and reconstructive criticism to rebuild her life in a new place that feels more like home than where she last laid her hat.

Schoellkopf is writing about how sometimes the journey which leads you backwards is the only method you can take to move forward. Within this space of time, is where the most learning and awakening of spirit can happen because your on the fringes of arriving inside your future. Curiously, I wrote this last sentiment about the novel chapters before the author had Samantha realise it herself!

-quoted from my book review of Yellow-billed Magpie

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Double Showcase: Book Review & Author Interview | “Red-tailed Hawk” the sequel of “Yellow-billed Magpie” by Nancy SchoellkopfRed-tailed Hawk
by Nancy Schoellkopf
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

When Mariah Easter encounters a large hawk in her urban midtown neighborhood, her father Charlie is concerned. He can see a wild and mystical path opening before his daughter, a path he himself would never be able to resist. The hawk soon reappears: engraved with its twin on a golden thimble that has been an Easter family heirloom for generations. After the thimble is stolen at a funeral reception, Mariah and her mother Samantha set off on a road trip to find it, a journey that will bring healing to the grieving family and change Mariah's life forever.

Red-tailed Hawk is a coming of age story, the tale of a young woman's quest to discover the source of her own longing and to understand the mystical legacy of her family.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

ASIN: B01MUGZJ8K

Also by this author: Yellow-billed Magpie

Also in this series: Yellow-billed Magpie


Genres: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Fiction


Published by Butterfly Tree Publishing

on 11th March, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 177

Available Formats: Paperback

Converse via: #RedtailedHawk

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Posted Tuesday, 25 April, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Autism, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, California, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Learning Difficulties, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Special Needs Children, Vulgarity in Literature