Sunday Book Review – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My Sunday Book Review is on Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. This was another book that was patiently sitting on my bookshelf awaiting my eyes. As a person who is guided by universal messages, I found this book the perfect read to ignite my belief that when we have the desire and passion to follow our dreams we should follow them.




A special 25th anniversary edition of the extraordinary international bestseller, including a new Foreword by Paulo Coelho.

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.


My 5 Star Review: Journey of the heart

An enchanting tale narrated by Santiago, a young shepherd boy living in Andalusia, whose dreams and aspirations lead him on a magical journey of self-discovery to follow his curiosity. His goal is to reach the great pyramids of Egypt and his travels lead him to meeting some interesting people along the way – some good, some bad – all of which have lessons to teach him.

This book put Coelho on the map for the wisdom of words that made him famous – a classic literary masterpiece. We have much to learn through Santiago’s journey, teaching us to pay attention to our hearts and dreams through experience and omens as Santiago learns to analyze life through his journey. We’ll find love, adversity and true life lessons from this sensitive and wise young shepherd as he gains knowledge throughout his travels, only to discover he knew the secrets of his real desires all along.

This is a book you may want to read over many times throughout life as there are so many nuggets of wisdom we can take from it, and for those moments in life when we can use a little inspiration.

Moving Photographs from the last 100 years – #Haibun – Colleen Chesebro’s #Poetry Challenge

This week for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, I thought I’d try my hand at a Haibun and incorporate my Haibun with a powerful video that Sally Cronin recently shared at her Smorgasbord Invitation. Profound moments of time in the last 100 years of humanity. Powerful, memorable, and poignant moments in time.



Poetry Rules: – Choose your form of poetry and use SYNONYMS ONLY for the words – Hobby and Play

I’ve chosen to write a Haibun with a double Haiku





I believe with all the madness in the world, these moments in times of turmoil serve as reminders of ongoing world struggles we live through and somehow overcome. But the past has a way of resurfacing. This video is a quick refresher course on some of the biggest things in life that can happen to us – things we often take for granted thinking  they’ve been eradicated – things we think won’t happen again. But they do.


Life is like a sport

We keep on striving to win

Winners and losers


Keep sight of the wins

The alternatives are dire

Lives become the game


Source: Smorgasbord Afternoon Video – Moving Photographs from the last 100 years. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine


Poet of the week badge

My poem was chosen as poem of the week! 


#WATWB – Swedish Teen Activist Greta Thunberg Nominated for Nobel Peace #ClimateAction

Every last Friday of the month We are the World Blogfest members post something inspirational to highlight some of the good being done in this world to deflect from all the negativity.


This month I have chosen to share this most awe inspiring young girl who is fighting to save the environment for her generation. The world should be concerned and doing their part to start helping out the future. Greta began taking off Friday’s at school in October 2018, to go sit in front of parliament to protest for climate change. Eventually, the numbers grew deeper with many who joined her. By December 2018, over 270 joined the protests every Friday around the world. By February 2019 scientists around the world joined the movement and Belgian Environment Minister resigns. Friday March 15 2019, she asked the world to ‘skip school’  for world student Friday protest. Listen to this brilliant mind. This girl is who Nobel Prizes are meant for.



Enjoy both videos. The first one is Greta’s speech, the second one is a powerful video clip with background information.





TedX Talk with inspirational Greta Thunberg


Your cohosts for this month are:  Shilpa Garg Sylvia McGrath , Belinda WitzenHausenDan Antion,Damyanti Biswas.


If you’d like to take part in sharing a post for #WATWB, please add your post HERE


Source: Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize – The Globe and Mail

I’ve Been Interviewed – WRITING: THE WHOLE TRUTH | Leslie Tate

I’m delighted to share my featured interview at Leslie Tate’s blog. I did the interview last fall and was pleasantly surprised to find it featured the week I returned from winter hiatus. Please enjoy.



Leslie: As a blogger, what else do you write about that you haven’t mentioned so far?

Debby: I’m an eclectic mix of thought and that’s what you’ll usually get on my blog. I like to limit my posts to three times a week on average as I feel that way I’m not chained to my blog and I don’t overwhelm my readers with too many posts. On my blog I have my Sunday Book Reviews where I share a review of a book I recently read. On Tuesdays I usually share a post of something I’ve written myself. That can range from a memoir byte – a story relating to my writing, a rant – where I tell of a recent experience I witnessed or encountered where I found injustice, or sharing news about a recent event. Often, I’ll reblog an interview or feature I recently wrote for at someone else’s blog. Fridays used to be reserved for my author guest interviews, which somehow got lost in the shuffle this past year, but I will be resuming next March, with a little restructuring. For now, I like to share contest news, reblog something from another writer that I feel is pertinent to my readers, or feature a post on writing tips where I share links I’ve accumulated through the week which I feel will be helpful for other writers.

I am also part of the ‘We are the World Blogfest’ team – #WATWB where writers participate the last Friday of every month in sharing something good that’s going on in the world to deflect some of the negativity we so often hear on the news. And lastly, I also run another blog with my Seven Sisters of the Fey, where we take turns writing on all things magical and mystical from fairies to horoscopes and tarots, to numerology and crystals, and angels and intuition are my specialty.


Leslie: You review other people’s books. Can you describe, please, what’s distinctive about your online book reviews?

Debby: I think every book reviewer has their own style unique to how they feel about a book. My reviews are not tomes, yet, I believe they focus on the ‘meat’ of the stories and how those stories left me feeling. Every reviewer is different. Some like to recap a whole book, and others choose to dissect a book down to every typo or grammatical error. If I enjoyed a book, I like to share my opinion about it, hoping that somebody else may too enjoy it. I have a personal motto that I don’t review books that aren’t worthy of 4 and 5 stars. If I start reading a book that I find is in serious need of good editing, too much head hopping that has me having to go back a page every time to figure out who the author is talking about, I’ll usually stop reading the book. As an author myself who fears the dreaded crappy reviews, I can’t bring myself to give another author a bad review. On the same note I’d like to add that because all my reviews are 4 and 5 stars, that in no way indicates I rated the book so to appease an author. To repeat, I’ll only write a review for books deserving of those ratings. . . please continue reading.



Source: WRITING: THE WHOLE TRUTH | Leslie Tate

Musical Review: – Jersey Boys and Some Observations

Something a little different for me here, reviewing a play – Jersey Boys, instead of a book.


Last Saturday, my husband and I went to a play together – something we’ve never done together. I love going to plays and musicals, and those events are usually reserved for girlfriend time. My hub is much happier watching sports.


My husband’s brother called us when we returned from our holiday to say hello, but he also express great enthusiasm for a play his children bought him tickets to go see – the Jersey Boys. His kids knew he would love it because of the era of music, and he surely did. He loved it so much he wanted his brother to go see the musical with me and sent us a pair of tickets! He urged me to pull up some videos of the play on Youtube to show my hub clips of the music. I knew my hub would be curious to go and could almost rest assured that he wouldn’t fall asleep while watching – the reason we don’t normally go to plays together, lol.

We took the subway down and walked half a block to the theater. It turned out to be a freezing cold windy and snowy day as a prank reminder that Mother Nature was not yet done with winter in our city. I was thrilled to actually be going with my husband despite that era of music which is not my most favorite genre, and boy, did I get a surprise.

We arrived in our seats approximately 20 minutes before the show began. While waiting I was surveying the layout of the theater and thought to myself how expensive the seats are considering the width of the seats felt tighter than an airplane, there were no cup holders for expensive drinks,  and I took notice that every 2 rows were raised a tiny bit higher than the previous rows to aid in viewing But I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see because the increments in raised levels was unremarkable.

Sure enough, the giraffe and the tall lady with the humongous hair sat right in front of me. ‘Nuff said.

The show was fabulous! There were some terrific talent in that cast – both singing and acting. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Frankie Valli’s life leading to the formation of the group, the Four Seasons and beyond. The story was a well written mini biography of the persistence of Valli to keep his band together despite the many pitfalls they endured, the original members’ backgrounds, friendships, relationships, and how the lyrics for their songs came to be. This band along with so many who strive to make it in the music world, took a lot of lumps along their way to stardom, and the many pitfalls of fame when it comes too fast.

The artists’ struggle took me back to the days when I too was a struggling singer with aspirations of ‘making it’, and in those days, the music industry wasn’t big in Toronto. Like the old adage reminds – it’s not how good you are, but who you know. I didn’t know the right people, and often one hopeful meeting led to another when ultimately, I was faced with some shady characters. That’s when I gave up pursuing my dream, but Valli endured toward his own.

The music was fabulous, but as a writer, I’m always drawn to story line. and I thought the show had some great writing for the story to be told through music and words. As we continued to watch, clap along, and sing in our chairs, I scanned the room in preparation for intermission – when I planned to move so I could actually see the play without crooking my neck. We crossed over to an empty row one section over and the second half of the play was much more enjoyable.

I loved the way the scenes were set up into seasons: Spring was the beginning of the group, summer were their heydays. fall was the beginning of problems surfacing, personally and monetarily, and winter was the calm – the breaking up of the original group and Valli making it on his own with a new band. Courage, persistence, and luck brought Valli to fame at a young age. And despite finally reaching fame, as is common with young artists, nobody was really minding the shop – the business side of being a performer, just like the marketing and self-publishing a writer must add to their repertoire. Four guys started a band, worked for peanuts, slept in dives. did menial side jobs on the side to survive the lean times. One was a tough guy-mobster wannabe, but he made all the gig connections and brought the group to fame.  There were relationship problems at their homefronts and behind the stage, and they all had their demons. It reminded how much artists struggle to reach that pinnacle of fame. The show was an entertaining inside look into the making of a musical legend and the pitfalls and highlights along the way. I’m so glad we went.

We rode the subway home. I couldn’t get over how crowded the trains were at 5pm on a Saturday, reminding me just how crowded our city is, not just on the roads. We stepped into the train and hung on to the hand strap, squashed in a crowd. Three stops later, a woman stood up to leave and I held her seat for my husband. An Asian woman sitting beside him was preoccupied on her mobile phone but took a moment to look up at me and did a hand signal language,. asking if I’d like her seat.  She didn’t look much younger than I am and I couldn’t decide in that moment if I was flattered she’d offered or if I looked old enough for her to feel I needed the seat.. But maybe I think too much. I was grateful to learn that there were still courteous people around either way. I smiled in appreciation, and signaled to her I was fine.

It was a good day.


I found this clip of the British cast with a segment of the play on Youtube:




Sunday Book Review – All the Light We Cannot See by Best Selling Author, Anthony Doerr

My Sunday Book Review is on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel – All The Light We Cannot See. I’ve had this book on my shelves for over a year now and so glad I took it with me on vacation. I was a bit apprehensive to read at first because I wondered how a big book with well over 500 pages would keep my attention, but it surely did. With over 24,000 reviews averaging just over 4 1/2 stars, it seems I’m not the only one who loved this story.




From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


My 5 Star Review:

This story takes place during the early years leading up to World War II, through the war years when France becomes occupied by the Nazis. We are introduced into the lives of the main characters – Marie-Laure, a young blind girl living with her father in Paris, and young Werner, a young German boy fascinated by radio communications, fixings radios as a hobby.

Marie-Laure’s father is the keeper of the keys for the National Museum in Paris. He smokes a lot, thinks a lot, loves his daughter a lot, and is brilliant at creating replica models. He creates a model of the neighborhood and partial city in miniature form so his daughter can feel with her hands how to get about town with her cane.

In another country, young Werner lives with his sister Jutta, at a small orphanage, and his fascination with putting radios together from collecting small parts ultimately leads to a Hitler Youth organizer discovering his talents and recruiting him to the program to work on electronic communications. Werner is a sensitive boy whose fascination with radios has more to do with wanting to learn what is going on in the world rather than having any interest to become a Nazi.

As the war escalates, Marie-Laure and her father flee to Saint-Malo to stay with an estranged uncle to escape occupied Paris. Once there, her father builds a new model layout of the town for ML to familiarize herself in her new surroundings, and inside that tiny model is where he chose to hide the sought after Sea of Flames diamond he was commissioned to deliver for the museum when he fled from Paris. The stone has a legend and curse attached to it and it brings an interesting new element to the story.

When ML’s father sets out to deliver a message back to Paris, he never returns, and his daughter remains with her uncle and Madame Manec, who looks after the house and who later joins the resistance. Eventually, ML receives some letters from her father, beautifully written letters disguising the truth of his upcoming demise. The story continues with how Marie-Laure manages to survive despite near freezing and starvation and being sought out by the Nazis, while Werner being groomed to become a soldier endures despite the evil and torture he sees among his own people, numbing him to human emotion and humiliation, knowing he can’t succumb to that evil that breeds around him. Werner is almost shocked at what he has become part of and tends to live in his mind, talking to himself, a poignant line “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

Meanwhile, as occupation grows into Saint-Malo, Marie-Laure becomes privy to Mme Manec’s secret meetings as she becomes part of the resistance, becoming bolder herself.

This book is full of beautiful metaphors on life as seen through the eyes of these innocent children growing up in a world that is changing around them. The author has done a fabulous job of evoking all the thought and emotion these characters take on, striking the heart of our own emotions. The book is written in a clever way – in bite sized chapters with no more than 4 pages in each chapter, alternating between the two separate lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, and eventually connecting them much later in the book.

Personally, I’ve never read a book like this one. There is so much to cover with layers of brilliant prose, sometimes quite poetic by this talented author. Many pages per chapter are unnecessary because the storyline is perfectly painted into our imaginations. Aptly titled, for the story is darkness with brilliant moments of light acknowledging the brighter moments of thought and memories by the two main characters.

Definitely a book that will stay with me for some time.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I’ve been featured at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord to be part of her ‘Getting to Know You’ series. Sally has given a choice of questions to answer. I find with every interview we read about our writing friends we can find new things about them that we wouldn’t otherwise know about. I enjoyed the images Sally has chosen to highlight my answers. Enjoy my answers.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author D.G. Kaye



You might think that as popular and D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) is in our community that there was little more to find out about her… I beg to differ as you will find out.


Now time to find out which of the five questions Debby has selected to respond to….

Thanks for having me over Sal. I chose these 5 questions because often my personal habits and preferences spill into my writing. As many of my readers know, lots of my life is in my books as I share my stories to enlighten others. My stories of defeat, triumph and overcoming also include some of my shopping peeves, travel stories and overcoming a low self-esteem, and of course, the love for my father, so I’ve chosen the following questions to answer.


How would you describe your fashion sense?

My fashion sense began as a small child when I was fascinated by the way my mother dressed – stylish and trendy. I didn’t need to be too old to know that was how I wanted to dress when I got older. But being self-conscious about how I looked since childhood cautioned me as I grew into a teen that not everything that suited others necessarily suited me or my body type. I learned young how to wear things that accentuated my better parts instead of dwelling on the parts I wasn’t happy with.

Eventually, I developed a style of my own that suited me best, yet, was often original and not what everybody else was wearing. I’d have to say that my style is somewhere between eclectic, bohemian, and became bolder as I grew older and into myself. I’m pretty sure I was born with a knack for fashion and tried lots of things until I grew into myself. I’m a big fan of bold prints and colors and I love everything leopard LOL.

I often get complimented for clothes I wear by complete strangers while out and about, often adding that they wouldn’t have the guts to dress like me, but I seem to be able to pull it off because it suits me and my personality. I think many are afraid to step out of their comfort zones when trying out trendier styles and that has a lot to do with self-esteem. I know from myself when I was a teen, I liked more subdued clothing because I was happier blending into a crowd. But after I came out of my shell I became somewhat of a fashionista.


If you could get rid of one household chore, what would it be?

Vacuuming! I will be blunt here – I hate vacuuming! It’s hard on the back, never fits in the crevices I need it to, it’s loud, and I don’t like loud. I could probably use a new one, but I keep procrastinating about buying a new one because I hate to spend money on something I hate doing. I’m on the fence about what kind of vacuum I’d buy next and seriously contemplating getting one of the robotic ones that go around the floors by themselves. I’m opened to hearing about anyone who loves their vacuum? Lol.  Please continue reading at Sally’s blog.


Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Besides my blogging about more personal nature of things on my recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I also wrote a more comprehensive post about that wonderful city this month at Sally Cronin’s Travel Column at the Smorgasbord. I hope you enjoy it. Next month I’ll be sharing Part 2 where I share some of my personal findings, tips, and experiences.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One.


Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. I thought it only fitting this month to zero in on one of my favorite winter spots for vacation – Puerto Vallarta, since I’ve just returned from there once again from a blissful two months away from my Canadian winter.



Puerto Vallarta is situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas, in the state of Jalisco – a Mexican resort city spanning just over 502 square miles. It was named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of the state of Jalisco. (1872–1876). His full name was José Luis Miguel Ignacio Vallarta Ogazón.

Puerto Vallarta was once a thriving Mexican village back in 1859 before it became the popular resort town that it is today. During the 18th century the city grew from a small fishing village to a small beach landing port for easy access to the Sierra towns. By the 19th century, the town began accumulating regular vacationers from nearby inland Sierra towns. It became a municipality in 1918, and that is when it was named Puerto Vallarta from its former name – Las Penas. Until 1942 the city could only be accessed by sea, air and by mule trails to the Sierra towns.

The new road finally created have vehicular access to the newly becoming resort town it is today. And the first vacation advertising from Modern Mexico Magazine in New York gave Puerto Vallarta its start at becoming a destination resort. By the 1950s Puerto Vallarta began attracting American writers and artists and ex-pats wanting to escape the politics of the Eisenhower/McCarthy era.


In the 60s and 70s, Puerto Vallarta became a popular vacation destination, and 6 influential factors helped put PV on the map:

  • Government intervened with century-old property disputes by parceling out land as communal farms stifling development for much of the 20th century, eventually transitioning into private ownership by the early 70s to generate sales revenue to help develop infrastructure.
  • In 1964, American director, John Houston began filming the movie – The Night of the Iguana, in a small town south of Puerto Vallarta, featuring Richard Burton. At the time, the US media had Burton and Taylor in the spotlight for their extra-marital affair and the publicity that ensued gave Puerto Vallarta recognition.
  • The Mexican government heavily invested in making transportation more accessible, building better roads, and an airport, (Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International airport, named after the president in power 1964-1970), and the El Salado Wharf (the current cruise terminal), making Puerto Vallarta become the first harbor town in the state of Jalisco. All these improvements made PV become a booming resort town.
  • In 1968, Puerto Vallarta became a city from a municipality. The city began to grow with ex-patriates from Canada, US and Europe.
  • In 1970, President Ordaz met with US president, Richard Nixon for treaty negotiations. The media exposure given to this event with the scenic views in the background helped to attract more visitors.
  • The hotel development began a booming industry for Puerto Vallarta in the early 70s with the building of grand luxury hotels and resorts. The early 80s also brought on a downtown of the Mexican economy, devaluing the Peso (international currency), which of course helped to attract more tourists to get a good bang for their buck for an attractive ‘bargain’ destination. This boom of course, inspired other destination spots in Mexico to be built such as Cancun and Ixtapa, which became new tourist getaway spots in the early 90s.



The city offers a gorgeous climate, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural history. With a typical tropical climate of wet and dry, the average daytime temperatures are 86 degrees, with lows at night as low as 65 – 70 degrees. The rainy season runs typically from June through October with August being the rainiest month of all. And PV is not traditionally a hurricane hotspot. Although, like much of the North American west coast, PV is vulnerable to earthquakes. Typically, there are 300 sunny days a year. And spectacular sunsets!

Please continue reading and viewing the photos at Sally’s blog.

gorgeous sunset



Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine