Jill's Cabana Stories and Travels

Book Reviews, Travel Blog, and My Little Cabana


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The Witch’s Prophecy Now Available on Kindle!

Check out my daughter’s book that I helped contribute to, The Witch’s Prophecy, on Kindle!

MYSTICAL PAGES

You can now download The Witch’s Prophecy for $3.99 on Kindle and Barnes and Noble.  For a preview of the novel, you can read the first three chapters here: Chapter 1–Ramla’s Vision, Chapter 2–Dragon Chase, Chapter 3–Lady Adell’s Request.

Happy reading!

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Announcing Book Cover and New Blog!

Exciting new book. Love it!

Amy's Fantastical Writings

The Witch's Prophecy Cover

I am happy to announce that my book cover is ready.  Each of the elements on the book cover relate to the book.  There is a good fire scene close to the book’s ending.  The eye relates to the Blue Witch, and the hourglass relates to the elf Skylar.  This is the book cover that I will publish on Amazon.

Also, I have started up my new author blog at Mystical Pages.  This blog will not replace Amy’s Fantastical Writings.  Instead, it will be my professional writing blog devoted to my novels and book series, including the Evindoore series.  Any posts about writing or young adult fantasy will go on both blogs.

Check it out, and happy reading!

© 2013 Amy Burney

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Crystal Palace

The_Crystal_Palace1 The Magic Kingdom has many different counter service restaurants, some of which are better than others.  It also has a selection of full service restaurants (and more have been added since the Fantasyland expansion).

Through all of these dining choices, our favorite Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom theme park restaurant is the Crystal Palace.  We love eating in the glass building and meeting our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood.  We always love seeing Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and, of course, Eeyore.  Somehow, we always end up eating in the Crystal Palace.  We’ve eaten there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Every time we go, we’re always happy to have eaten there.

The restaurant serves a fantastic all-you-can-eat buffet, with menu choices that change constantly.  You never know what to expect when you eat there.  I remember having some delicious key lime tarts there.  You normally find many types of meats, salads, pastas, and breads.  There’s also a huge section just for desserts.

Advance dining reservations are required to eat here.  The Crystal Palace is arguably the most popular restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, especially with young children that love Winnie.  There is always a line of people hoping to get in.

I would highly recommend trying out this restaurant.


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Sesla…The Enchanted Planet Book Review

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The magical story by J.A. Ireland, Maxx Zeqster, Creepy Cases, Sesla…The Enchanted Planet, was a nice escape book.  It was a fun book to read, and it contained a very unique twist.

The main character Maxx Zeqster is a Private Investigating Space Alien with a troubled past.  Think Sherlock Holmes and Spock mixed in with a little George Clooney.  On Sesla, Maxx Zeqster is very easy on the eyes…

The story leads Maxx into a new case involving the missing coterie, Leqtus Kin.  In the process of his investigation, he inadvertently stumbles into an unsolved police investigation.  Since Maxx’s reputation of incompetence precedes him, both the local police and news media don’t have any confidence in him.  These situations soon challenge the troubled detective.

My favorite scene in the book was the Championship Mesnuk game.  It was very exciting, fast paced, and had me rooting for the Kinkorx Horned Hares to be triumphant.  I found it highly entertaining.

J.A. Ireland’s book is nicely paced, easy to read.  Some parts of the story were a laugh out-loud, and others were terribly weird and strange.   I enjoyed it.

For more information and his upcoming spinoff crime solving series for readers ages 8-14 go to http://detectivemaxxzeqsterscreepycrawlyamazingadventures.wordpress.com/

You can buy Maxx Zeqster,,Sesla…The Enchanted Planet on Amazon for $.99.  You can also borrow it for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you are an Amazon Prime member, and you have a Kindle.


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The Help, Twins Book Review

The Help Book Cover

The Help Book Cover

My daughter and I just finished with another Twins book review on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  We both really enjoyed the novel as well as the film adaptation of the book we watched together the other evening.

The Help was set in the 1960’s south in Mississippi.  The book moved the reader through our troubled history of the racially segregated south, civil rights, John Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

I grew up in this period.  Although, I grew up in the north, I remember watching T.V. about the civil rights marches, and the riots in Detroit.

One of the parts of the movie that really caught my attention was when the character Skeeter spoke to her New York Editor about the books idea.  She wanted to write the book from the Point of View of the Negro maid working for the white families.  This editor knew this would shake things up.  The editor agreed to this as she wanted to catch these stories while this civil rights thing still had momentum.

Skeeter, when pitching her the idea. explained that Margaret Mitchell made us love Mammy in Gone With the Wind, but no one had ever asked Mammy what she thought about working for white families, and raising the white babies, using separate toilets in whites home, and putting their cups, saucers, and utensils in separate cupboards.

Parts of the story were very compelling to the point of anger.  The privileged lifestyles the white women lead was very shallow.  They did not see the racism that their society inbred in them.

My favorite character was Celia Foote.  Her struggles in the book proved to me that the attitudes of the socialites were not only the superior feelings of race, but also of status.  Celia was raised dirt-poor in Sugar Ditch, Mississippi.  Her attempts to integrate herself into the local white society proved unsuccessful.  She had a heart of gold, and it was difficult to see her struggles too.

The movie followed very well the plot of the book.  It enhanced the understanding of how much courage these black women took in standing up and telling their stories, both the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My daughter and I highly recommend this book, as well as the movie if you have the chance.  Here’s a link to her review.


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The Bell Jar- The Twins Book Review

515JNXDM1QLMy daughter and I co-read the book The Bell Jar by the novelist Sylvia Plath.  The novel, set in the 1960’s, is considered a classic coming of age novel.  It parallels Sylvia’s own life during her time of depression and later her own suicide.

The main character Esther Greenwood on the onset of the book has it all together.  She is an intelligent, achieving A+ college student, accomplishment and awarded by numerous scholarships and grants.  She has just won a chance to intern with a New York editor.  Esther wants to be a writer/poet.  Twelve others have also won similar experiences with placements in their own chosen fields.

In the early part of the book, Esther is shown the high life, parties, clothing, meeting interesting people, all in New York City.  However, she does not quite fit in.  She always feels somewhat uncomfortable, hanging on the perimeter in social situations, never quite feeling accepted.

She begins to struggle with thoughts of her future.  One of my favorite passages in the book was when the author used the imagery of a fig tree to show Esther’s confusing choices.

“I saw my life branching out before me, like a green fig tree.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, another was a famous poet, another a brilliant professor, another an amazing editor, and another was Europe and Africa and South America…..above and beyond these figs were many more figs I could not quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I could not make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

She sees the road before her, after college, with no clear thoughts on where she wants to be, what goals she will pursue.  After her New York experience, she hopes to be included in a summer writing program at her college, but doesn’t qualify.  She also cannot see a future with Buddy, a longtime boyfriend, who is going off to medical school, and wants to marry her.  Esther starts to feel a crushing weight of despair for what will come next for her.

At this point in the novel, Esther sinks into a heavy depression, not eating, sleeping, bathing, and writing.  She feels she is living in her own sour air under a Bell Jar.  She is looking out at a distorted perception of the world around her.  Everyone she knows is moving on, as she just stands still.

Troubled, her mother sends her to a doctor, who administers a series of crude/brutal shock therapies, to cure her.  Esther further falls deeper into depression, where every minute she imagines scenarios to end her life.  She considers death by cutting, slicing, drowning, gunshot, or hanging herself, finally resorting to overdosing on sleeping pills.

Esther wakes up hospitalized in a private mental institution where the rest of the book finds her in treatments, and more shock therapy.  This time done differently where Esther feels the Bell Jar lifted momentarily, allowing fresh air to get in.

The book ends with a question, is Esther able to face the world again?  Her doctor feels she is ready, and she is to be interviewed by a panel of hospital doctors to determine her release.  Esther relates the idea that there should be a “ritual for being born twice, patched, retreaded, and approved for the road.”

She knows that somewhere down the line, in college maybe, she may still feel the suffocation again of the descending Bell Jar.

I enjoyed the book.  I found the author let us gradually in the emotions of depression so heavy that the world moves on, while Esther remains.  Parts of the story were hard to read, the brutal shock therapies, and the dwelling thoughts of suicide.   The author gave the reader an understanding of this mental illness and thought of hopelessness.  I understand, how still today, The Bell Jar is an important read.

For another review from Amy’s Fantastical Writings, click here.


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From New York to Halifax and St. Johns

Sailing Past the Statue of Liberty

Sailing Past the Statue of Liberty

One of our memorable cruises was a New England/Canada cruise on the Carnival Triumph sailing out of New York, with port stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada.

We were in awe as we sailed out of New York harbor past the Statue of Liberty. We had seen pictures of the magnificent statue but had never seen her in person.

That was a spectacular way to start the lovely northeastern shoreline cruise.

As we sailed on the oversold, new, very large cruise ship, we enjoyed the new ship. Even though the cruise was oversold, we were successful at avoiding the crowd much of the time during the voyage.

Halifax Fishing Village

Halifax Fishing Village

At our port stops of Halifax and we sailed on a small private flat bottom boat to a quaint fishing village.  Here we spent time wandering through the small town, did some souvenir shopping, watched the anglers hauling in the boats laden with their catch, and enjoyed some of the local fresh catch of the day.

Bay of Fundy Lighthouse

Bay of Fundy Lighthouse

We had an enjoyable day on the water watching for Minke whales. Minke whales are the native whale of that waterway.

In St. John, we enjoyed a bus ride to the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy is unique as the current runs both ways. During high tide, the current runs inward, and during low tide the current reverses and flows back into the Atlantic. The Bay of Fundy is a beautiful waterway to view.

rcm mounted police

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

We also enjoyed a visit from a Royal Canadian Mounted police officer, on this shore tour. The kind RCM police was very happy to accommodate photos.

After an enjoyable day with Shania Twain music playing at most of the stops, we ventured back to the ship.

As we sailed out to open sea through Halifax Bay, we saw several Minke whales frolicking in the water. Our northeastern waterway cruise, out of New York harbor was a relaxing cruise we will always remember.