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R. DelParto "Rose2" RSS Feed (Virginia Beach, VA USA)

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Amherst: A Novel
Amherst: A Novel
by William Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.68
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4.0 out of 5 stars A romance intrigued with aura, November 27, 2015
This review is from: Amherst: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Amherst is a cleverly written novel surrounding the intimate affair between legendary poet Emily Dickinson’s brother Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd. Although written accounts have already been published of the torrential affair, what makes this novel so novel? It is threefold and reads much similar to a story within a story that weaves the past with the present. First the somewhat biographical and intriguing historical setting of the nineteenth century in one of the most prestigious environments of Harvard University where the encounters between Dickinson and Todd occur, second, the poetry of Dickinson, which churns ambiguity, predictability and subtle suspense between main characters and of the story, and third, the secondary part of the story, Advertising Executive Alice Dickinson who is doing research and travels to Amherst, Massachusetts and encounters affairs of the heart of her own with Nick Crocker.

The book alternates between the storylines of the Dickinson and Todd affair and Alice’s excursions and as she compiles and writes her screenplay. But the most interesting element of the book is Emily Dickinson's poems that are embedded within particular parts of the story that provides a tint of ambiguity but also brood and somber moments, especially in the concluding chapters that suggests the imminent is near; for readers that are familiar with Dickinson’s writing, it contains a so-called slow build up and grows to the climax as surprising events emerge that readers do not necessarily expect or want to expect.

In essence, Amherst provides an amount of enticement within each chapter and passage of the book. And knowing Nicholson’s background as the same as character Alice, an author of fiction but also a screenplay writer that is accustomed to creating unique characters that subtly tips the scale of fantasy and romance, although within smaller screens and soap opera-like scenarios. The book is written with much detail and vivid descriptions that could easily be made into a Lifetime or Hallmark TV movie.

Ocean Spray PACt Water, Raspberry, Power of 50 Cranberries, Naturally Sweetened,  10 Calories per 16oz Bottle (12 Count)
Ocean Spray PACt Water, Raspberry, Power of 50 Cranberries, Naturally Sweetened, 10 Calories per 16oz Bottle (12 Count)
Price: $25.71
4 used & new from $25.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Healthy and Natural, November 7, 2015
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Oceanspray has produced an alternative to their already established variety of fruity drinks beyond the original cranberry flavor, which they are known for. And now in addition, PACT a recent offering contains cranberry as well as raspberry as part of the choices for those seeking a healthy way to fulfill their liquid needs.

Based on the label and details of the product, PACT contains a unique quality that cleanses and purifies and stresses that it is better than water. However, with every liquid drink water is one of the ingredients, and such is the case here with cranberry extract of 80 mgs of proanthocyanidins (PACS) from 50 cranberries and purified water; other reasons why the drink is healthy, it has 10 calories, 0 fat, and does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.

In essence, an enjoyable drink when one wants a taste of cranberry flavored water and with natural ingredients.

1 [CD/DVD Combo]
1 [CD/DVD Combo]
Price: $24.99
54 used & new from $12.71

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of their time and still timeless, November 6, 2015
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This review is from: 1 [CD/DVD Combo] (Audio CD)
What can one say about The Beatles that has not already been said or heard? The title of the re-mastered CD edition of “1” speaks for itself as well as the DVD accompaniment of the same collection of 27 songs, although, in promotional video form -- every song that hit number one and made history for the band. It is the DVD disc that adds another dimension to the package.

Indeed, this is a treat for diehard Beatle fans that missed the original release of this collection more than ten years ago. With the number of compilations and re-mastered collections, sometimes cannot keep track or simply stops, especially of the different formats that are now accessible and available from the basic CD/DVD, or Blu-Ray/CD or Blu-Ray Box set with an exclusive 124-page bound booklet. But for this listener, the basic CD and DVD format was essential, especially having the viewing pleasure to watch in their entirety the promo clips, which were the highlight of the package. A few of the footage definitely show their age and quality, especially the first half of the set of black and white performance clips, “Love Me Do, “From Me to You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and one proceeds through the rest of the set, the following are in color such as one sample from the Shea Stadium concert “Eight Days A Week,” a little bit of conceptual ones “Paperback Writer,” “Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love,” “Hello Goodbye” and all of the remaining set up to “The Long and Winding Road.” And as one watches "Get Back" there is the constant reminder and question, will fans ever get to see the original full-length film version of “Let it Be” re-mastered and released? One will never know. But in the meantime there are other exciting snippets on the promo disc such as commentary by Paul and Ringo for the videos for “Penny Lane,” “Hello Goodbye.”

Aside from the promos and CD, the collection includes a small glossy booklet of liner notes, an abridged version of the 124-booklet that provides a gist of each song and short commentary by Mark Ellen of what The Beatles represented to their generation of fans and fans thereafter. Beatle Producer George Martin also shares his fondest memories in the concluding commentary. Details are included of each of the 27 songs from date and year of production, time and place, and date released by record label, and when the song made it to number one and much more. For fans wanting an extensive examination of each Beatle song and release, Mark Lewisohn has done an exceptional job to chronicle that part of the band’s history Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of The Abbey Road Years 1962-1970.

And with every listening session of Beatles songs it is best to hear each one with the volume turned up and with the headphones one.

All the Stars in the Heavens: A Novel
All the Stars in the Heavens: A Novel
by Adriana Trigiani
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.38
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5.0 out of 5 stars After they've gone, November 2, 2015
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Set during the heyday of Tinsletown of the 1930s author Adriana Trigiani writes a tale to tell in All the Stars in the Heavens of one of the most intriguing stories in Hollywood history. In the form of fiction, Trigiani intimately and respectfully, recreates the secret affair between actors Loretta Young and Clark Gable and the child that he never knew nor did Young’s daughter Judy Lewis until much later.

What appears to be the central focus of Trigiani’s historical novel, the relationship between Young and Clark, there is more to the story than meets the eye. Although the deeply secret was kept closely within Young’s heart, only the most trusted within her circle of family and friends were fully aware of what began on the set of the film “Call of the Wild” and after. The novel begins in 1917 and concludes in 2000. But what made the story much more enlightening, pocketed within Young’s life and career was her friendship with her assistant Alda Ducci, parents immigrated from Italy, who somewhat appeared as a kindred spirit, twenty year or so age difference but a constant reminder of Young’s previous life as a young girl that grew up as a devout Catholic and amongst the sisters of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul. A piece of Young’s past that interestingly is woven into the storyline, and provides hints of the reasons why Young tucked away her pregnancy from the public and Gable and daughter Judy for many years and carried it in her subconscious mind and never revealed in the confessional due to the period in which she lived; impropriety and scandalous marital indiscretions, the environment that Young worked was not uncommon but still not acceptable even in Hollywood. But Young was not alone, the legendary affair between Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn was not unbeknownst. Aside from that and the major focus on Young, Alda’s story is also significant but subtly enclosed within the storyline of a life of love but also heartache. No where has this reader have come across a novel that name drops the great stars of the day in one book but cleverly displayed in a manner that meticulously meshes with the interactions of each character and that flows show eloquently. Having read Trigiani’s The Shoemaker’s Wife, she no doubt embraces the characters that she writes of that reads more like non-fiction rather than fiction; of course, based on biographical information and already published material, the difference between each, in fiction there is more flare and also the liberty that allows the characters to freely express what they may have been thinking of as they converse, and it clearly shows in the dialogue between Young and Gable.

All the Stars in the Heavens is perfectly titled and showed and recaptured a time of entertainment. After reading each chapter and passage, the storyline clings to the reader and portrays a period in Hollywood history where it appeared to be a big happy family of actors that worked and played on the film set such as during “Call of the Wild.” However, as one passage suggests that Young reveals as an aside, she did not want the experience to end, although it appeared to be like a snow globe – magical and only happens in the movies. For movie buffs or the curious, a highly recommended novel worth reading.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (Greentown Book 2)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Greentown Book 2)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Spine-tingling and Creepy, October 31, 2015
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A story filled with wild imaginations, the king of fantasy and mystery Ray Bradbury writes such a story that takes place during the heart of one of the most haunting months of the year October Something Wicked This Way Comes. Inspired after a meeting and visit with Bradbury’s heroes Actor, Dance, and Director extraordinaire Gene Kelly, Bradbury reworked a short story that had been tucked away The Black Ferris and revived it in novel form in 1962 and later made into a film; noted in the afterword at the end of the book, originally Kelly was asked if he could direct a film adaptation but plans fell through until 15 years later when a script would be written and the eventual film produced by Jack Clayton of Kelly’s “Invitation to Dance” would be made by Disney in 1983.

Readers familiar with any Bradbury story, there are always twists and turns within each page from short stories to novels as well as lessons to be learned in the aftermath. Something Wicked This Way Comes is that type of story, which begins with a quaint backdrop in small town America and what appears to be quite normal, two young boys Jim and Will that happen to enjoy the outdoors and adventure. It so happens that on October 24, their Halloween comes early when the carnival comes to town. And with any carnival, fun and excitement awaits, especially for Jim and Will but little do they know what is in store for them; readers must keep in mind that the story is set well before technology took off during the 1950s and TV soon become a popular medium over radio, and to go to the carnival or circus was a big a deal to see the most unusual occurrences that sparked anyone’s imagination to the point that it brought joy as well as fear, especially for the young. Bradbury does an exceptional job with striking surprise for the reader and capturing the imagination of the characters and those reading each page at the edge of their seat; plenty of atmosphere and setting the stage of fantasy and mystery within the experience of a psychological drama. And by the end of the story, there is no doubt that the boys will have aged beyond their 13 years, 11 months, and 24 days old.

One suggestion, it may be best to read the novel before watching the film adaptation in order to experience the extremely descriptive and vivid imagery of Ray Bradbury’s writing.

4 Film Favorites: Jerry Lewis (4FF)
4 Film Favorites: Jerry Lewis (4FF)
DVD ~ Various
Price: $9.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars A laugh a minute, October 19, 2015
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Film buffs or Jerry Lewis aficionados will enjoy this collection of four of his most revered but hilarious films of the early 1960s shortly after his departure from the Martin and Lewis obligations that, too, contain the most unforgettable of films. But every disc in the collection is worthwhile to watch because of Lewis’s unique comedy style put to film that hearkens back to the days of slapstick and vaudeville.

For this viewer’s preference one cannot neglect to watch “The Bellboy” (1960). Despite it being filmed in black and white, it is an effective and practical approach to portraying Lewis’s character Stanley who does not speak at all within the entire film until the end when he is asked, “how come you do not speak”, and he answers within the lines of, “cause no one ever asked me to.” The film contains an array of Hollywood favorites of the day, especially a cameo from comedy great Milton Berle. The fun continues with “The Ladies Man” (1961) and once again, a complete barrel full of laughs that viewers will no doubt experience; this film is in color and has Lewis playing a houseboy Herbert at an all-women boarding house. And the last two discs also very humorous and follows in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin “The Patsy” (1964) in color, a somewhat rags to riches storyline and plays another Stanley, check out the memorable scene where Stanley creates his own tux and tails – simply a touch of Hollywood and “The Errand Boy” (1961) in black and white and similar to “The Bellboy” where he plays Morty a mail room clerk.

If anything may bring delight to movie watching, any Jerry Lewis film will.

Last to Die: A Defeated Empire, a Forgotten Mission, and the Last American Killed in World War II
Last to Die: A Defeated Empire, a Forgotten Mission, and the Last American Killed in World War II
Price: $15.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A rarely seen part of World War II history in the Pacific, October 19, 2015
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As of this writing, another commemoration has passed of the day that Japan signed the surrender document ending World War II in Asia and the Pacific theater on September 2, 1945. And as that day in history continues to be remembered 70 years and thereafter, historians or the curious readers of the past cannot be denied, especially of the individuals that helped to keep the world at peace and who were not necessarily the larger than life figures that contributed to victory. Stephen Harding writes of that part of history seldom revealed to the general public during the time in which they occurred and years later in books such as Last to Die: A Defeated Empire, A Forgotten Mission, and the Last American to Die in World War II. Harding intertwines the monumental event of the end of World War II to the life of 18-year old Army Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Marchione and the men that boarded photo-reconnaissance one of four Dominators and accompanying B-32’s Hobo Queen II and Harriet’s Chariot that met its fate on August 18, 1945 days after Japanese Emperor Hirohito accepted the Potsdam Declaration and announced surrender to the people of Japan and the world.

The book provides interesting insight to the events leading to August 18 but begins and ends with Marchione’s story. One may ask of what the symbolic importance does this story possess versus what readers already know about the end of World War II within the Pacific theater, the signing of the document of surrender aboard the USS Missouri at Tokyo Bay and dignitaries within global and military proportions present to mark the end of one of the most tumultuous events in history. However, Harding writes with much respect and tribute to one of the unsung heroes that was not a high ranking admiral or general but one of thousands that had gone unnoticed for the past 70 years, the many young men and women called to duty that simply heeded that call without any reserve, especially at such young age of 18 years old; Marchione was that individual who unexpectedly died for his country when the war was already declared over, an originally did not have intention to serve in the military but wanted to be musician. It is this element that inspired Harding to write his story after finding information after 30 years of research to finally include Marchione’s place within history. The book begins with a brief biography and concludes with his story, but the proceeding chapters from three to six contain the backdrop to history and what prompted the indiscriminate small group of so-called diehards and disbelievers and disillusioned Japanese military fighter pilots that simply did not agree that the war was over after Hirohito’s speech and President Harry S. Truman's declaration of cease fire, Yoko Ku, Saburo Sakai and Sadamu Komachi veterans of the war from the beginning in battles at Coral Sea, Midway, and Rabaul; they continued to fight until the end off the coast of Okinawa and the Kanto Plain. Knowing what occurred, attempts were made by then Supreme Command Leader of Allied Forces in the Pacific General Douglas MacArthur to direct concerns to halt hostilities to Hirohito and the Japanese Imperial Government and Headquarters. The events that played out after the 18th remained hushed.

Harding includes great detail within the book to shed light on the life of Tony Marchione and the men of the Hobo Queen II and Harriet’s Chariot and their encounter and participation in the last air battle in the Pacific theater. And in addition, it is a history that breathes much irony of the United States role in the war and their initial involvement in in 1941 and the eerie end in 1945 that usually plays out in a Hollywood re-enactment.

London Calling
London Calling
Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Clash Album, October 13, 2015
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This review is from: London Calling (MP3 Music)
Listening to the Clash’s album “London Calling” in its entirety brings back memories of adolescence and first hearing the record many years ago when FM radio used to have an hour or two set aside to play an entire album. To hear every song from beginning to end is still quite refreshing and timeless, which only lets listeners know that the Clash were like their counterparts The Ramones and The Pretenders and other punk and post-punk bands of the late 1970s and 1980s to be reckoned, complete unpredictability.

Beyond the raunchiness and three chord progressions, “London Calling” captured the essence of the period in which it was produced – diverse mix of sounds that were not only the Clash’s style of rock and roll that resonated with rhythms of the past – definite parallels to the music of the 1950s and the cover design alone shares that sentiment and across boundaries with the band’s rendering of island sounds of Ska with songs such as “Revolution Rock.” All of the tracks are memorable, especially the following with Joe Strummer on lead vocals, title track “London Calling,” the rockabilly a la Gene Vincent greased lightning “Blue Cadillac” and “Jimmy Jazz,” and alternating vocals Mick Jones “Lost in the Supermarket,” “Clampdown,” and single “Train in Vain,” bassist Paul Simonon also lends his part in the raw “The Guns of Brixton.”

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
by Kate Clifford Larson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.15
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the smiles was a family enthralled with challenges, October 11, 2015
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One of the most heart-wrenching biographies to be read thus far, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. Author and historian Kate Larson writes with emotion and thought of the life of Rosemary Kennedy, the second eldest child out of the nine that Joe and Rose Kennedy reared that many readers may not be familiar with after 1941. Written with fine detail and scope, that changes as of now. Based on Larson’s findings at the John F. Kennedy Library Museum, she delves into the history of the Kennedys and Rosemary and archival materials of correspondences and interviews of the individuals that knew her best.

For readers that may have had a glimpse of various documentaries of each member of the Kennedy family, there is no denying that John "Jack", Robert, and Teddy stood at the forefront as well as father Joe. Each had their respective place in history. However, amidst their successes in the limelight and controversies, they were part of family filled with history before making their way to Washington and the White House. Rosemary has been somewhat a footnote to their history but for this narrative she is at the forefront. Indeed, the historical backdrops are a major part of the book, especially the early years from 1918-1941 of the Kennedy family. One way to understand what Rosemary experienced during her formative years, the eldest sister who saw her brothers and sisters lives revolve around her but hers rigged with limitations and not able to excel or mature.

The book is three-fold when explaining the origins of what occurred to make Rosemary a somewhat unknown figure within the Kennedy mystique. First, born during when the world was swept with Spanish Influenza in 1918, Rosemary would survive but left to live her entire life with intellectual and learning disability that limited her to an awareness at the third to fifth grade level or nine-years old. Second, the extensive and loving care that came from the entire Kennedy clan, especially from Joe and Rose and the various Catholic schools and sisters and nuns that assisted in the process to attempt to allow Rosemary to live as normal a life as her siblings; living in the shadows of her brothers and sisters that achieved and excelled and parents that simply could not accept weakness or imperfection. Third, the tragic event that halted her development, the unsuccessful experimental lobotomy procedure done by Dr. Walter Freeman and his associate Dr. James Watts at George Washington University Medical School. Rosemary would live the rest of her life of re-learning and therapy at Saint Coletta and by Sister Anastasia and numerous caretakers until her death at 86 in 2005. But as one reads each chapter and the unfortunate circumstances that occurred, what stands out is what most had grown accustomed to of how the Kennedy’s did not sit still during hard times, they took the bad and made good out of the situation. And sister Eunice who became close and at times one of her caretakers at a young age before the surgery and brother Jack utilized their resources to address concerns of people of intellect and developmental disabilities of children; this led to participation geared toward the Committee on Mental Retardation and National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and organizations founded by the Kennedy Foundation to establish acceptance and information such as the Special Olympics.

Rosemary is one of the most enlightening biographies that may an after thought as well as discussion. If her story does not tug at the heartstrings, the photographic insets may. No doubt, Rosemary’s life may change one’s perspective of the Kennedy family.

War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation
War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation
by John Sedgwick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.98
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4.0 out of 5 stars History to be told, October 5, 2015
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One of the most historic duels in history that author John Sedgwick retells in the form of fiction War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation. Inspired by a letter that Sedgwick discovered that was written by one of his descendants Hamilton’s speaker and former Senator Theodore Sedgwick the day before the duel, essential biography by Ron Chernow, and Gore Vidal’s Burr, each comprised of Sedgwick writing retelling of the initial history of Burr and Hamilton and the events that led to that fateful day on July 11, 1804 across the Hudson in Weehawken, New Jersey. But the most intriguing elements about this book beyond what has already been written in the historical narrative of Burr and Hamilton are the pieces of the story that Sedgwick has placed together that may not been elaborately told that center upon their personal lives with colleagues, family and friends, and romantic affairs that have subtly been told.

Taken directly from the annals of American history and given a tinge of creativity, Sedgwick does not revise the events of the lives of Burr and Hamilton. He highlights the events of the 1780s that introduced their place in history and that show the making of each man, the most influential and powerful in the New Republic and their roles that directly linked to the founding of a new nation years after the revolution and implementation of the constitution and activities thereafter. The time and place and overall setting of the story consisted of Williamsburg, Yorktown, Washington, D.C., and Albany, New York. Where they traversed to and from and endless work they collaborated with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington; the usual key historical figures of the day. And as one reads, these figures and events provide the initial backdrop, but in addition, what made the novel interesting, Sedgwick writes of Burr and Hamilton within a personal light – they were actually human and also possessed pitfalls and problems, and indeed, weaknesses and the indiscretions that are revealed with detail within particular chapters in the book such as Hamilton’s with Maria Reynolds and familial issues with Burr and wife Theodosia. With that in mind, especially with fiction, the what ifs also emerge by the concluding sections of the book that may pique at the reader’s curiosity and the story begins to come to shape as a murder mystery that involved Burr and Hamilton.

The book is insightful and may encourage the curious to read into the history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and the mystique of the historic duel of the century that continues to be retold in its various dimensions. Two things that are lamented by the end of the story, between the two men, one was memorialized and the second was forgotten to obscurity. Although Sedgwick graciously apologizes for not including footnotes, the concluding pages include brief notes for each chapter and a concise bibliography.

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