Twenty Questions

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Don MassenzioDon Massenzio kindly hosted me for a Q and A on his blog today. You can check out my answers to 20 questions at:

https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/20-questions-with-n-a-granger

Thanks so much, Don, for the opportunity. And followers, do check out Don’s blog. He is a prolific author of several murder mysteries himself and in addition to interviews, he posts writing tips and book reviews on his eye-catching blog.

You can contact him at www.donmassenzio.com

I’m On Radio!

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Today I had the honor of being interviewed by Annette Rochelle Aben on her blog talk radio program Tell Me A Story. She’s a fabulous host, and I had great fun (what author doesn’t like talking about themselves and their books?).

Here is the link if you want to listen in:

Author Noelle Granger on Tell Me a Story

Annette Rochelle AbenAnnette has a smooth radio voice and doesn’t miss a beat, picking up and expanding on important details. Quite a talent! She has her own blog, which I highly recommend you check out: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Thank you, Annette, for this opportunity!

New Followers Friday

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One of these days, I’ll catch up! In the meantime, here is another group of fascinating people:

Natalie West at  https://knowledgeforparents.wordpress.com/blog/home/  Knowledge for parents is basically a movement founded Ms. West to help parents take care of their new born in a better way. It is always a difficult time for folks when raising their kids, especially if they are working, and I know I will recommend this to my daughter when she decides to start a family.

https://thebraineffect.wordpress.com/blog/ is written by an eighteen year old, who’s decided it’s high time she takes accountability for her incredibly non-productive writing style, and she is counting on her expected readership of zero fellow bloggers to keep her honest. Let’s prove her wrong, but hopefully still keep her honest, by visiting her blog.

J.C.Wolfe at the Wolf’s Writing Den http://jaycwolfe.com/ is a fiction writer. Most of her writing is in the form of short stories and flash fiction of varying genres, with the occasional poem. Her real goal is to be a novelist, especially of science fiction/fantasy and romance novels. She has a Bachelor of Science and has done research in southern Brazil.

https://seasidefreckles.wordpress.com/ is written by a 22 year old media student at Leeds Metropolitan University. She writes about issues that concern normal 22-year-olds, so maybe there are some 20-somethings out there who would like to follow her!

Rashmi at https://livewithstyle19.wordpress.com/ She is a young blogger and motivational writer for whom writing is a passion and hobby. From reading so many blogs and articles she was inspired create her own blog and to inspire people as well as increase their confidence level through her writings. She knows everybody has some problems in their lives, and she wants to help with solutions to those problems.

https://rsimplecookingecipes.wordpress.com/author/rsimplecookingecipes/ You MUST visit this blog. The recipes had me salivating: French leek tart, slow cooker lasagna soup, chocolate peanut butter banana stuffed French toast. I’m hooked.

Mark Anthony Monzon at https://markmyworld.me/ enjoys a hacking life while enjoying everything in between. He reviews food, music, movies, travel and leisure, tech stuff and social media and comments on work and life. This is a kaleidoscope of interesting information, sure to have something for everyone!

https://elsie01px2019.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/courses-im-looking-forward-to-next-year/  Elsie is a high school student who writes thoughtfully about school and her courses. I’m sure she’s appreciate a follow and I asked her if I could use some of her writing as information/inspiration for a character in my books!

Larissa N. Takahassi at https://sittingprettywebblog.wordpress.com/  is a journalist born in Brazil. She is a lover of beauty, harmony, balance and symmetry and adores being surrounded by art, music and beautiful places. She writes absolutely stunning posts about nail art, beauty and fashion and also menswear! I know there are youngsters (and many others) out there who will find her blog fascinating and informative!

 https://mackmarie.com/about/  Mack began her blog in 2012 while going through college, and is now giving it a fresh start as she and her husband embark on a move across the country to California from the mid West. I remember a time when I was newly married and moving from Cleveland to California, so her story resonates. Her goal is to use her blog as an outlet to articulate the joys of life, record their adventures, and update friends and family along with the rest of us on their lives. She’s a nurse, likes chocolate and seafood, and is a runner. This is a gal worth following!

Nalini at https://nalinidesignprofile.wordpress.com/about-me/  is a BSc Graduate with a passion for design. She loves to do creative work like making  earrings, pencil shading, sketching, frames using wool and newspaper.  Her ambition is to become a visual effect designer, and you need to see her blog because her graphic designs are mind-blowing. In addition, she is a physically challenged person with both upper limbs affected by polio, but you can see she is not challenged in any other way. (I had polio as a child and my heart goes out to her).  Do stop by her blog.

The Old One is Down

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The Old One is the name we gave to an oak tree that stood in an area off the end of our driveway. It was really, really tall with an enormous circumference. About ten years ago, it started to lean. Each year, it leaned a bit more until the roots on its north side were partially pulled from the earth and the tree leaned on a huge loblolly (Southern pine). We didn’t want to think about taking it down, and even though we worried that it might drop on someone, maybe a car going up our driveway, we couldn’t touch it.

When we were in Maine this summer, we received a frantic call from our daughter. “There’s a tree down on the driveway, a huge one. There was a huge whump when it fell.”

I looked at my husband. “So the Old One has finally fallen.”

But it wasn’t our Old One – it was the pine tree holding it up. The tree had broken off halfway down. We organized a tree removal company to come and get the tree out of the driveway, and when we returned, we saw that our Old One was now leaning on a spindly hardwood, threatening to fall at any time.

We knew the time had come and found a tree removal company (an arborist) who came several days later with his crew. The owner of the company is an Asian American with a doctorate in Philosophy from Harvard. My husband asked him how he came to what he is now doing. He replied his work paid the bills and he actually enjoyed it.

I couldn’t watch and stayed up at the house. When I finally descended the drive the next day, all I could see was the huge cross-section of the base of oak tree, still held to the earth by its roots. The rest of the tree, plus the one that had held it up, was now stacked in huge boles along our creek.

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I had to get out to see it up close, but to be honest, it took more than a week before I could bring myself to do it. My daughter and I counted more than 150 rings (we couldn’t get an accurate count) which means the Old One had been standing there since at least the 1860s, maybe longer. Maybe it had seen rebel soldiers passing by; a famous Civil War battle occurred not far away. It had certainly seen turkeys from the turkey farm for which our road is named, and the farm that a black man had on our property – his great granddaughter stopped by one day looking for markers.

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My one hope is that a sapling will spring from the still-anchored roots. I will cherish it, help it to flourish, and hope that it will stand tall and proud for another 150 years.

                                         Vade in pace, Old One.

 

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#Book Review: The Dead City by Dylan J. Morgan @dylanjmorgan #RBRT #post-apocalyptic thriller

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This is a review based on an advanced reader copy from the author through Rosie’s Book Review Team. The book will be available in early September.

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The Dead Lands, which I recently reviewed (https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/book-review-the-dead-lands-postapocalyptic-thriller/), is the prequel to this book by Dylan Morgan – The Dead City. In the first book, a team of highly trained soldiers from Erebus are sent in response to a radio signal from the sister planet Hemera, indicating that the President of Hemera and his family are awaiting rescue after being in stasis since a nuclear war one hundred years prior. They are sent by the avaricious and pig-like Colonel Paden, who features prominently in this second book. Rather than a barren land with no surviving inhabitants, the team finds a baking, dusty, rubble-strewn wasteland populated by murderous thugs and a completely destroyed capital city of Magna, overrun with hordes of horrifying and ghastly mutants. The sole interest of these mutants is killing and eating the organs of their prey.

In The Dead City, another crack team is heading to Hemera and Magna, accompanied by Colonel Paden. He wants to find the treasure in gems said to be hidden within the capitol city, ostensibly for Erebus but in reality for himself.  He brings with him physicians to tend to his health and three prostitutes to tend to his other needs. The team is led by Lieutenant Marshall, a much-decorated soldier revered by his men. Among the team members are Ryan and his sister Jayde, who is also a soldier and very close to her brother, and also the loathsome Murdoch, who has hated Ryan since their training and fantasizes in graphic ways about what he will do to and with Jayde, if he ever gets the chance.

This time the soldiers are aware of what awaits them, and the trek to the capitol’s palace is a running of the gauntlet, with the gruesome deaths of both soldiers and mutants. The mutants, who have deadly aim with sharpened metal blades, are held off by a plasma guns (Berserkers), which blow them into bloody bits but which cannot stem their unending tide. Eventually some of the groups into which the team has been split reach the deepest level of the palace, where the President and his family, long since dead, were once housed. Paden then follows in relative safety, at the cost of more men, and the search of the building and sewers for the gems begins.

The Dead City has an inherently interesting story line with characters you can really love or hate. My dislike of Colonel Paden was so great, I prayed for a mutiny. While Ryan is suitably indomitable and brave, the author has also created many minor characters who grabbed me emotionally. As I said about The Dead Lands, this is not a story for the faint of heart. There were times when I was overwhelmed with the repetitive and gruesome slaughter; there’s a limit to the amount of gore I can handle. Luckily, each time when I thought I’d reached that limit, the story and characters kicked back in and I kept reading. The ending was a total surprise and made it more than worth reading the book. I want the sequel!

Two things. I wish there had been more of a transition between the previous book and this one – seeing what happened to the first team when the remnants of it returned to Erebus, for example.  I also wondered why the mutants never killed and ate each other.

The relentless gore aside, the author does a great job of describing his world and drawing the reader into it.  This book should appeal to everyone who likes strongly written, post-apocalyptic thrillers.

PS, this is a planet I would never want to visit!

Four out of five stars.

About the author (from Amazon):

Dylan J. Morgan was born in New Zealand and raised in the United Kingdom. He now works in Dylan JNorway and writes during those rare quiet moments amid a hectic family life: after dark, with limited sustenance, and when his creative essence is plagued the most by tormented visions. A member of the Horror Writers Association, he has published 8 books, all available on Amazon.

You can find him:

@dylanjmorgan

https://dylanjmorgan.wordpress.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156560.Dylan_J_Morgan

You can find The Dead City on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31329015-the-dead-city

New Followers Friday

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Here are some more bloggers you might be interested in following!

https://chingum.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/hyper-realistic-paintings-by-emanuele-dascanio/  Chin gum has a fantastic blog of pictures and art. Check out this post – it blew my mind!

https://newsixtaste.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/mini-chocolate-croissants/ Anthony Angelov has a blog about food with recipes. I was drooling over this one. All you foodies out there, this is for you!

https://amychhabra.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/first-blog-post/ Amy Chhabra has a blog about beauty, fashion, make-up, and nutrition. Amy is Interior Designer and Architectural Technologist by profession – I could have used her blog a lot earlier in my life!

https://literarydust.wordpress.com/about/   Candace at Literary Dust is an avid book reader and reviews all the time. You might want to check in with her and see what she’s reading and what she recommends!

https://drewavera.wordpress.com/   Drew Avera is an active duty Navy veteran and a sci-fi author. His new book Broken Worlds: Book One of The Alorian Wars, comes out in September and he reviews sci fi boos and movies. I know there are some sci-fi aficionados out there so check him out.

Tye Files at https://butterfliesmachineguns.wordpress.com/about/ What a blog title! The author is a creative writer and I think you’ll like some of his postings!

https://ironmommi.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/whatactuallymatters/  The author of Unreally Written is a self-proclaimed mushy mom, with a little madness and a lot of musing. She writes, she reviews and she doesn’t believe in sitting around waiting for inspiration to hit – she thinks then you are a waiter, not a writer. Writing is her safe haven.

Jackie P at https://tobreatheistowrite.com  Jackie is the author of the DeeDee Watson, PI, series. She lives in Canada now, but was raised in Wisconsin and Texas, and has been blogging for four years. Any mystery writers out there besides me?

Anu Joy  https://petulantpotato.wordpress.com    She reviews books, movies and TV shows and is a talented writer herself. You might want to see what she’s critically reviewed recently! Don’t you love the name of her blog?

https://readersnerve.wordpress.com     This blog is a little different in that it provides insights about latest thinking and reflections of the author in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Investments, Insurance and Personal Finance.  How about that? You own personal financial advisor. The author, Anthony Misajon, has a broad experience in real estate and capital markets!

 https://toshphotography.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/first-blog-post/  Check out the first post – a lovely canal photo!

https://beautifulkittens.wordpress.com/about/  If you like cats, this is the blog for you. Wonderful photos, which of course Elijah Moon just loved!

https://historyarchiveblog.wordpress.com   This blog just knocked my socks off. Written by a history student, it is a collection of well-researched essays such as the impact of warfare on Hellenistic culture. European witch hunts, division within black politics in the 1960s – just fascinating! I recommend it to any history buffs out there!

The Fashion and Fitness Craze  https://yashdedhablog.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/10-benefits-of-drinking-water-on-an-empty-stomach-yeah-its-amazing/  This blog covers things such as health and fitness and skin care. Recent posts include the benefits of drinking water on an empty stomach, best natural cures for dandruff, and the best low calorie fruits for a diet.

https://zoe169.wordpress.com/about/    Its author is Zoe, of course, who lives in England has a blog that is a mixture of reviews, thoughts, quotes and notes on authors. She does do book reviews! And reads amazing numbers of books…

 

I’m Baaaack and in Purrfect Form!

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It’s been a while since my human has let me take over her blog. She had an excellent opportunity when she was in Maine selling books and eating seafood (yes, she taunted me with that!) but somehow she felt I would have a hard time adjusting to having the daughter taking care of me. Little does she know, I got brushed every night and received lots of cuddles.

Anyway, I’m sitting at the computer this afternoon while she is out swimming. I have been my usual busyself – sleeping in the new round bed that showed up one day,

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sunbathing on the porch,

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sleeping on the sofa with ‘she who must not be named,’

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sleeping out by the pool, sleeping on my favorite cushion in the living room,

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playing with a sock,

and lying upside down on the family room rug to entice passersby to rub my tummy.

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It’s no wonder I need to sleep!

bob catAmidst all this summer activity, I reminded my humans what a good watch cat I am. One early summer night, there was a commotion out on the back deck. It was just a big cat with large big ears playing through glass door with me, but it ran away when Noelle opened the door and talked to it. I heard my humans say it was a bob cat. A few days later, it came back very early, before the sun was up.

www.felidaefund.org (if you want to save our North American bob cats)

Apparently during its absence, it had decided it didn’t like me.  So it crashed into the glass door. Do you think it wanted to eat me?

I was very brave! I howled and hissed and screeched and yowled, which naturally woke everyone in the house.  And you know what? That big cat ran away and hasn’t been back since.

I was very proud, and my human told me many times how wonderful I’d been, so I just had to walk around with my fur all puffed out the entire day! I, Elijah Moon, had driven off that big cat.

fluffed up cat

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I just wish my brother was alive to see it…Zeke was the hunter!

 

Thursday Photo Prompt – Caged– #writephoto

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I couldn’t help responding to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt from last week.

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 112

 

Ellen looked at the crowd of people around the cage in which she hung, their red faces contorted as they shouted cruel words at her. “I’m not a witch,” she yelled over and over, until her throat was raw. “I’m innocent!”

The Elders hadn’t listened to her either, and she knew what awaited her – either the ducking stool or the hangman’s noose. Maybe even fire. She sank to her knees, weak with fright. Then she heard the sound of tramping feet and looked up to see the Elders approaching her cage. Someone lowered it to the ground and unlocked the door. Arms roughly dragged her out and along the dirt road to the river, her heels leaving two lines in the dirt.

So, it was to be the ducking stool. She felt the faintest glimmer of hope.

They tied her hand and ankles with rough rope and placed her on the chair at the end of a long pole. Their last step was to bind her loosely to the chair. She knew if she struggled out of her binding and came to the surface, she would be deemed guilty. If she stayed down, she would drown and be proclaimed innocent.

Elder Williams pronounced, “Ellen Sayers, you have been judged a witch. You proclaim your innocence. Now you have a chance to prove it.”

Ellen took as many deep breaths as she could before they lowered the chair, weighted by a huge rock, into the deepest part of the river. Wiggling out of her binding, she expelled some air, which rose in bubbles to the surface and helped her stay at the bottom, where she swam dolphin style with the faster-moving bottom current.  Hold on, hold on. Don’t breathe out. Follow the flow. God help me.

She finally emerged from the surface out of sight of the crowd, knowing they would soon pull the chair up. She maneuvered to the opposite bank, imaging what the townspeople would think. Working the ropes from her ankles, she climbed out of the river.

They didn’t know she’d been taught to swim by her grandmother and loved the water.

 

#Book Review: The Owl Goddess by Jenny Twist @JennyTwist1 #RBRT #YA #Greek Mythology

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The Owl GoddessI really enjoy books that are aimed at a YA audience, and I did enjoy this one. The Owl Goddess by Jenny Twist is based on the claim of Erich von Dänekin that extraterrestrials or “ancient astronauts” visited Earth and influenced early human culture and is set in the prehistoric Mesolithic age.  It’s a first contact tale, which begins with the crash of the spaceship Atlantis on a planet populated by an intelligent but primitive people. The sign of their Goddess appears in the sky, marking the crash site – a giant Sacred Mushroom.

The difference in this story is that the aliens aboard the spaceship are a group of Greek gods and goddesses: the teenage Athena, her father Zeus, Ares, Demeter, Artemis, Apollo, Hades and Poseidon, to name a few. Following the crash, which they all survive, they set up camp and very quickly recognize that this planet is exactly like their home. The gods become quite delightfully human in this author’s creation, having many of the foibles we associate with their myths, and assume the jobs of their mythic descriptions. Hestia, for example, the virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture and domesticity, takes on the job of camp cook, while Hera, the wife of Zeus, is portrayed as self-centered and shrewish.

The book is told from the points of view of Athena, and the boy, Prometheus, who not surprisingly is the keeper of the fire for his primitive tribe, the Titans. Prometheus is in love with Pandora, who has become The Mother of the tribe and assumed sacred powers. The Mother decides to see the aliens and she and the tribe climb the mountain to reach their camp.

What follows is an interesting story of assimilation and learning, as the two groups try to understand each other. There is plenty of tension: the love triangle of Athena, Prometheus, and Pandora; the hatred of Prometheus for his brother, who becomes Pandora’s husband; the challenge of Atlas to Zeus’ leadership.  The author also cleverly weaves in some of the legends: Athena adopts a baby owl, and the primitive tribe worships her as a wise goddess; Zeus banishes Atlas and his followers across the Mediterranean to Africa.

This is a sweet story and an easy read, humorous with quirky characters. The only drawback for me was some of the dialogue – a bit simple. The book should be a great hit with tweens and younger teens who are into Greek mythology.

Four out of five stars

About the author from Amazon):

Jenny TwistJenny Twist left school at fifteen and went to work in various jobs, including an asbestos factory and a bacon-packing plant. She even did a turn as an escapologist’s assistant before returning to full-time education, earning a BA in history at Manchester and doing post-graduate studies at Oxford. In 2001,
she retired and moved to Spain where she lives with her husband and their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.

 

You can reach Jenny at:
amazon.com/author/jennytwist
https://sites.google.com/site/jennytwistauthor/home
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenny-Twist-Author/291166404240446
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4848320.Jenny_Twist
Twitter: @JennyTwist1

You can find The Owl Goddess on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Owl-Goddess-Jenny-Twist-ebook/dp/B01DL35084#nav-subnav

 

New Followers Friday

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Here’s my people for this week! Check them out – as usual, amazing!

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie https://addandsomuchmore.com/  Madelyn has a lot of degrees (CTP, A.C.T., CMC, MCC, SCAC) and is a certified [Life] Coaching pioneer and ADD Coaching Field founder. She blogs about ADD and all the other alphabet disorders. I wish I had had her around when my son (who even as an adult is still ADHD) to help me. She could be a fantastic resource for some of you.

https://kittomalley.com/2016/07/06/arms-length/ Kitt O’Malley is a mental health advocate, wife, mother, sister and daughter who neglects housework as she blogs, connects using social media, and lives with bipolar disorder. This is a great resource blog for those who live with or are living with bipolar disorder.

https://tammikale.com/2016/07/04/independence-is-a-state-of-being/  Tammi Kale is mother, daughter, mammy and a budding author.  She is loves to travel, loves to read, loves to make new friends, and a lover of animals.  Her travel recommendations and photos are wonderful!

https://burbuqeraufi.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/short-stories/  Burbuqe writes short stories, inspirational pieces, quotes and other uplifting posts. Visit this blog is you need a lift!

https://bloggingpuppies.wordpress.com/about/  This blog specializes in photos of dogs, alone or with humans, and other pets. I love the these!

https://lcaisling.wordpress.com/  L C Aisling is the pen name of an Estonian author, whose writings have grown into worlds of their own over the years with characters, rules, weather forecasts and shoes that need to be remembered and organized: an alternative to the modern world, a parallel universe with an urban fantasy twist, and aliens in a futuristic world. Some of her posts involve an encyclopedia with all the information about these worlds.  I checked one out, and she does an amazing job!

https://immodiumabuser.com/2011/08/03/wanna-hear-something-ironic-imodium-ad-actually-tried-to-stage-an-intervention-with-me/  And now for something truly different.  For him, Imodium is a lifestyle choice.  He will not leave the house without Imodium in his pocket. Throughout his whole life, the constant support system and the thing that enabled him to accomplish anything has been Imodium, so name of his blog is a shout out to the Rx. He writes wonderfully sarcastic posts. Check out: My relationship with St. Patrick’s Day: It’s nothing to shake your shillelagh at!

https://alwaysnforeva.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/love-is-work/ This is an uplifting and spiritual blog of encouragement by a person who spreads the word that if you learn to work with all the negatives in life, you will surely make better pictures out of it.

https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/the-stamped-addressed-envelope/ Pamela Canepa posts reflections on writing, life, dogs, learning, books, and almost everything else. This latest one is about accepting the fact her son is not going to be a college student, how he found another niche, and cashing in his college fund to add to a retirement fund. Lots of letting go and acceptance. Which I did myself when my son decided to join the Army instead of college. Check this one out!

The Impeccable One https://theidlerinrapture.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/notes_from_underground/ The Impeccable One is Subhajit Das, an extremely good-looking (as per his gravatar – what? I’m not dead!) young Indian man who reviews anime, books, movies, TV series, music and dance in great depth and insight. Check out his blog for recent reviews if you have a question about a choice in any of these categories.