Sunday, November 21, 2010

To Nourish and Consume by Ryan O’Reilly

3 star First off; Welcome to the next stop on the To Nourish and Consume blog tour! There have been some great reviews and Q&A this week all about To Nourish and Consume so if you have not already checked out the other stops head on over to Ryan O’Reilly’s website and check out what others have to say about the book. And now on to today’s event, my review of the book….

This review contains spoilers….

To Nourish and Consume delivers in many ways a classic plot that almost every reader can relate to; love triangle that forces the protagonist to acknowledge identity issues and of course coming home again only to find that it has remained unchanged. The story begins with a brief introduction to Brain Falk and his best friends and love interests Jackie and Dabney. Both men love Jackie but find that they are also intrigued with one another. Like all good love triangle stories though it must come to an end when eventually two members break off and leave the third devastated and forced to question his own views on love and relationships. That is exactly what happens when Jackie chooses, just after graduation, to marry Dabney simply because he is more financially endowed. Brain flees and finds that in the ten years that he is away from his home town he is unable to maintain intimate relationships. After ten years of trying to live and forget his love for both Jackie and Dabney, Brain Falk, our protagonist, takes us on a journey to discover himself, his true love and his connection to his home town.

What Brain discovers when he returns home is not only does it seem that time has remained still in his home town, but all his emotional angst so to remains. Now he is forced to decide if he truly loved Jackie or if what he felt for Dabney was in fact love. He also must open both his heart and mind to his new love interest Alissa and decide if he is ready to leave the past behind to fully engage himself in the relationship with Alissa.

This novel had many fantastic lines, ones that were both poetic and universal. The kind that can only be produced by an author who both understands his characters and whom has taken time to play with language and make it gently flow with the mood of the novel (see some of my favorites below in the Novel Moments section). I found myself underlining and tweeting these fantastic moments often. All that being said I cannot help but be somewhat disappointed that the story did not always live up to those poetic moments. This novel is all about looking back and picking apart personal history to heal and move on and yet Brain (and our narrator) only superficially share the past with the reader. I feel like the husband in Alan Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy peering through the blinds at Brain, Jackie and Dabney seeing just glimpses of their interactions and having to make sense of those glimpses. “Outside” seems to be a theme of the book, Brain is outside of Jackie and Dabney and the world they belong to and because of the holes left by unfulfilled details of the past the reader too is always left just outside the story.

However, that is not to say the book is not worth reading. Although it is promoted as a novel for Generation Y it is more universal than the publisher and the author lead their readers to believe, simply because the overarching theme, love lost and found. Personally, I feel that if more time was spent building up the relationships of the characters the emotional impact of the return home would have been greater and the willing disconnection of Brain from Jackie in the end would have been more powerful. I recommend this book to those who enjoy love triangles or coming of age stories (while I would not really classify this book as a coming of age story it does contain some aspects of one that would intrigue those who enjoy typical coming of age stories).

Novel Moments: 

“Fear can sometimes bond one heart to another as strongly as any other emotion, fear being one of the more natural emotional responses.” (Kindle Location 17)

“Outside I turned to see a strand of her blonde hair hanging suspended in front of her with the background light from the open door illuminating it and silhouetting her face. I had always noticed her in that way, even when we were children. To me Jackie had always evoked images such as apparition of a dream, or the subject of a portrait, or as the kind of feeling only written about in poems.” (Kindle Location 105)

“Outside the world went by in the form of passing light and shadow.” (Kindle Location 397)

“Outside the gate, turning toward the distant train station, I walked along the side of the road. Above me bright lines of sunlight streamed through the crooked limbs of the cottonwood trees and the rustling sound of the leaves came, riding on a light wind coming off the lake. Sheltered from the curling breezes and feeling the warm sun on my face, all at once I began to feel happy and unafraid.” (Kindle Location 10932)

About the Author: Ryan O’Reilly is the author of two books; Snapshot and To Nourish and Consume. He was an English Literature major at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri. Today he is a member of the National Writers Association and the Writers League of Texas. O’Reilly travels the world as a freelance writer and author. You can find out more about him or find his Facebook and Twitter links on his website.

Note: I received this book for review from the author and the publishing company for free to review. In no way did this effect what I said about the book, the author or the rating that I gave the book.

Need to know what the star rating means on this book? Check out the ratings key.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Tuna Christmas at the Breckenridge Theatre

 A Tuna Christmas at the Breckenridge Theatre 

Thursday November 18, 2010 Norwood and I were invited to see the preview show of A Tuna Christmas performed by the Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge Colorado. Neither of us was really familiar with the Tuna plays so we were excited to experience our first Tuna experience.

About the Breckenridge Theatre: The Breckenridge Theatre is located at 121 S Ridge St in Breckenridge Colorado (put Rd into Tom-Tom to get correct location). There is parking in a lot a few blocks down from the theatre and on the street. It is a charming theatre that has limited seating which makes the atmosphere more intimate. For those who choose to sit in the first two rows it will feel like you are part of the performance you are seeing. There are no posted restrictions about photos or video but you should call ahead to be sure. As with any theatre they ask that you turn off your phones as to not disturb the performers or the audience. They offer a limited selection of refreshments. For A Tuna Christmas night they offered Lonestar Beer, Wine, Coffee, Soda and Water. Refreshments are an additional charge.

About the Performance: A Tuna Christmas is one of a collection of Tuna plays; Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas, Red, White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas. The performance is put on by only two actors; Seth Maisel and Christopher Willard whom portray 24 characters throughout the course of the evening. It is set in the town of Tuna Texas, the third smallest town in Texas. The play begins with Arles Struvie and Thurston Wheelis, DJs for the OKKK radio station filling us in on the current events of Tuna Texas. We find out that the whole town is preoccupied with the Christmas Phantom who has been ruining Christmas lawn displays all over town. As the show progresses we are meet more citizens of Tuna, find out who the Christmas Phantom is, see one misunderstood young man flee to freedom, and discover an unexpected romance. The performance will be in the Breckenridge Theatre from November 19- December 30, 2010.

What We Thought About the Performance: It was fantastic! It was hard to believe that there were only two actors in the performance because when each new character was introduced it was like meeting that person. From children to “old women with a limp” each character was believable and well performed. Although the performance was not flawless (at the end of the play there was a wardrobe malfunction, but both actors worked it into their performance and made the audience laugh even harder than if it had never happened) it was hilarious and well worth the time and money to experience the town of Tuna. We will definitely see the performance again and are looking forward to seeing the other Tuna plays.

More Information: If you would like to find out more about the Breckenridge Theatre, the show or purchase tickets head on over to Backstage Theatre website.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maverick Playing in the Snow

Breckenridge Ski and Snowboarding School

Breckenridge Ski School  

If you are new to snowboarding or skiing then you definitely want to take lessons through the Breckenridge Ski School. I have never skied nor snowboarded, heck I only rode a sled once in my life and after just 3 hours I was able to slide down the beginner hill and stop using toe-side. There are many lesson plans you can get a Breckenridge, all of which can be found at their website. I bought the unlimited lessons pass which allows me to go all season Thursday- Sunday for all day lessons. The lessons are group lessons but even on the day after opening day (a Saturday) there were only 7 of us and we each got personal attention from the instructor when we learned to get up toe-side and heal-side.

Breckenridge Ski School

There are a few blackout days on my lessons pass but I still have a large portion of the season where I can go take lesson depending on my level. All the instructors are nice, very patient people and at the end of the lesson they give you a card called “Tip of the Day” which will detail what you need to work on or what you accomplished during the day. One note of caution; whether you are learning to ski or snowboard you will fall down probably more than you stand up at first so you may want to prepare with butt pads and knee pads, trust me, they come in real handy. 

Blackout Dates on the Breckenridge Lesson Pass (must have a valid 2010-2011 Colorado, Summit or Epic Pass): 12/23/10-01/02/11, 1/08/11-1/09/11, 1/15/11-1/16/11, 2/19/11-2/20/11 & 3/12/11-3/20/11

Edited February 10, 2011 to add:
I received a couple of emails asking about which was better to take lessons at Beaver Run or Peak 8. Here is my response...Lessons can be taken at Peak 8 or Beaver Run with the Lessons Pass. I took lessons at both. While I thought my instructors were more informative and somewhat better quality at Peak 8 I ended up taking some of my last lessons at Beaver Run simply because I thought their learning area was much better. It was a larger area that had its own lift so you could practice using that (which let me tell you is difficult work for a beginner). It is also a heck of a lot less busy at Beaver Run then it is at Peak 8 especially in the mornings. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan

 You can hear a clip from the new audio book Getting To Happy from Terry McMillan and other clips from Penguin Audio above. All clips are about family this series.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opening Day at Breckenridge Ski Resort

Breckenridge Gondola

Opening day for Breckenridge is tomorrow. Right now the snow is falling and there is a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Looks like it will be a cold and snow filled opening day on the slopes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mobi Pocket Software

More and more people are buying ebooks over hardback and paperback books. It makes sense because with one little device you can carry your entire library with you. I personally prefer my eReaders over “regular” books because as a fulltime RVer I do not need to worry about weight restrictions or space restrictions.

As a student of literature I also find ebooks very useful. Much of my own writing I used to keep in printed copies in file folders all over the house. Now with the help of such software like Mobi Pocket ebook creator I can turn my own writing into ebooks which I can read at any time on my Kindle or my Nook. I wanted to share this information about Mobi Pocket ebook creator with all the other writers out there, that way when you want someone who prefers ebooks to review your book you can have a file that is ready for the eReader device.

To use Mobi ebook creator just head over and download the software:

You will notice that there are two editions; home and publisher. I personally use the home edition, however whichever you prefer because both are free to download and use.

Once you have downloaded it and installed it onto your computer you will find that there are really only two things you need to know:

1. Upload a file- most of us write in Word so just take that word file and upload it

2. Build- this is what will actually create your ebook and send it to the location you have selected to save it.

It is that easy and it is free! And trust me it is much better to have it in the ebook format than the PDF format for eReaders. You can read a PDF on a Kindle and Nook but they are rather large and the reader will need to scroll back and forth across the screen to read the entire document. Not difficult but definitely not as easy as reading a book in ebook format.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Year of Open Doors

The kind people at Chemikal Underground sent me an email letting me know that they will be releasing their first audio book today. From the email:

Not only does the audiobook feature stories from Chemikal Underground’s own Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap), it also includes a forward written by the inimitable Irvine Welsh (author of “Trainspotting”)

Below you will find links to download the intro for "The Year Of Open Doors" written and read by Rodge Glass, The Donaldson Boy written and read by Aidan Moffat (from Arab Strap) and a pdf of the books forward written by Irvine Welsh.


Free mp3 Intro for "The Year Of Open Doors" written and read by Rodge Glass

Free mp3 The Donaldson Boy from "Year of Open Doors” written and read by Aidan Moffat

Forward written by Irvine Welsh

Sounds interesting, hope you guys check it out. If you do let me know what you think by posting a comment on this post.

Here comes the snow!

November 9 2010

Today Breckenridge Colorado and surrounding areas are starting to see some snow, big change after last week's warm weather. Weather underground says that highs will be around 27 the rest of the week and we should expect snow the rest of the week. Looks like there will be some snow added to the base just in time for opening day at Breckenridge November 12, 2010 (Friday). Bundle up and break out the boards and skis.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Summit Stage to Change Stops

No More CMC stop
Those who ride the free bus system in the Breckenridge-Frisco, Copper Mountain-Frisco, Silverthrone-Keystone-Dillion, Silverthrone, Boreas Pass, Lake County Link, Silverthorne-Frisco, Summit Cove-Dillion Ridge and Wildernest- Silverthrone area should make sure to keep their eyes open when it comes to changes to the routes and times. For instance, the stop in Breckenridge at the Colorado Mountain College will no longer be in service as of November 20, 2010. Notices are posted on the signs that hold the times guide and if you check their website ( ) a current schedule may be posted.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Breckenridge River Walk

Breckenridge November 1
Although the high for Breckenridge was a balmy 38 degrees today the sun was shining and it was hard for this sunshine lover to not get out and do a short hike. Since me and my trusty sidekick are somewhat accident prone on the ice we decided to keep to pretty easy and do a short two miles along the river walk which parallels highway 9. We were not disappointed with the great views of Breckenridge from a distance. Friday my sidekick Maverick and I will have to venture out further because the Summit County forecast calls for highs near 60! Get rid of that jacket and throw on the hiking boots sounds like we have some great weather in store for the weekend.
Maverick admiring the view in Breckenridge