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Romantic Suspence, Behind Closed doors by Shannon McKenna

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code

Genre: Suspense
Book 2 in the Robert Langdon series
ISBN: 0-552-14951-9
Releasedate: March 18, 2003
Publisher: Transwolrd Publishers Ltd.
Format owned: PB-UK / HC Limited Illustrated edition
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

Synopsis

Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes.

As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vaults of history.

Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever....

REVIEW

Normally I am not a big fan of novels within the thriller genre, but Dan Brown has got a lifelong fan, with his Robert Langdon series, in me. And to keep things in perspective - since I bought this book 3 years ago, I've read it about 16 times or so - yes I've been told it's not an addiction anymore but a mental issue....

I'm only writing the review now because I've started writing reviews 2 months ago (Sept '06). I remember buying the book, settling in at home, making a cup of tea with some biccies, and the whole time I went : I knew it, I was right all along ~ about the Mary Magdalene part ~. Eventhough the Robert Langdon story is Dan's own creation; he did use facts that no-one can deny! No wonder the Vatican went balistic over this book.

Dan Brown knows how to putt a thrilling story to paper. Every chapter leaves you wondering what comes next and just when you think you have it figured out - the whole thing is mixed up again and new things come to light.

I think this second novel is not as sublime as the first one in this series 'Angels and Demons' it comes very close though. And to be able to do this for a second time in a row as an author I think is amazing. His writing is so formidable that you get sucked into the thrill and are eager to keep reading.

I love Robert Langdon's character and putt him right next to Buffy's - Rupert Giles. Looks as well as personage. The interaction between Sophie and Robert adds to the story and it all just fits like a glove. Amazing. I'm amazed, that's all I can say.

What I think is marvellous as well is (as I've never been to Vatican City / Rome before) the added map of this part of Italy. It was great to be able to see the map that they followed and what came out of it, brilliant.

4,5 stars
Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - RIP



In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair
Will you still care, will you be there
In my trials and my tribulations
Through our doubts and frustrations
In my violence, in my turbulence
Through my fear and my confessions
In my anguish and my pains
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow
I’ll never let you part
For you’re always in my heart
                                ~ MJ Jackson ~

Friday June 26, 2009 – 8.13 CET

I received a text-message from my brother that said: “Michael Jackson has died.”.
That one line made me stop whatever I was doing and I remember staring at my mobile phone for what seemed like forever, but later turned out to be just one small minute or so. That one line made my heart skip a beat, my stomach turn in a twist and my emotions upheaved in all directions.
When my conscious mind became aware and the impact hit full force I texted back: “I had no idea. When?”
I was about to drive off for a family visit 260 km’s away from where I lived but just had to switch on the TV and watch the morning news to see if something was said about it.

There was some footage, some first reactions and a reporter blurted something out – mostly wild guessing at the time. Cause of death wasn’t for sure yet, first news was it was a cardiac arrest. But there it was, not that my brother isn’t a trustworthy news-giver because he is, but up to then it was so surreal, yet, the newsreporter said it a few times, the legendary King of Pop has died on June 25th, 2009 at 14:34 LA-time.

As always with news concerning Michael Jackson, rumours about his passing started up straight away to lead their own life, was it suïcide, did it have to do with all his allegedly surgeries, was it foul play, natural death or drug-abuse? With the news on a quarterly loop I watched it again – and it still didn’t hit home really.




Like many others, I grew up with Michael Jackson, I mean, he was just about in his twenties when I was born so I’ve been hearing about him all my life. Grew up liking his music very much and always looked forward to a new release to see what spectacular video he made with it. Just stipulating here that he is not in my thoughts every day of my life. A few months ago, I however had a dream, totally out of the blue, about Michael Jackson dying. Different circumstances but the result the same. Back then it got me all emotional and that dream stayed with me, it left me with a gnawing feeling ever since, but also with feeling some sort of connection.

I never believed the rumors about the childabuse and people who know me know this because I spoke it out loud every time they reared it’s ugly head. I followed the trial on TV and prayed as often as I could for justice to prevail. If he was indeed guilty let him be found guilty, if he was innocent let him be found not guilty on all charges. When the latter became reality I remember sitting in my bedroom crying happy tears because justice prevailed, but also grieving tears for the man who came out of it broken and torn up even more inside!

I saw and still see Michael as a loving man. Strong because of his views on familly, his charitable work as a humanitan was outstanding, his musical achievements unrivalled and someone who has been fighting for his believes for so long. Eventhough he came across so many people who tried to bring him down, he always stayed the kind, caring and tremendously generous person he was.


I think he was a highly intelligent man. Whenever he heard something if either from history, or facts or something that interested him, he listened when someone tells, takes up the information and is able to use that and relay the information when needed. Without anybody realizing it nowadays he really was steps ahead of his time, always innovating and wanting to come up with something new and always came up with something new. I know he came across as distant and a loner, part of it is because it is in his character but it’s been put upon him as well by record company/manager and such persons.

I know how the music industry works, you still see it going on with popstars these days, they have to come across as available, no wives or relationships or families, just to keep the record sales up. They think the illusion needs to be created, but what they did to Michael, taking it all away from him – in their thoughts they justified it as to protect him… And they knew how to play Michael, they knew what to say and how to say it to make him do so, but at the same time they disconnected him from life in such a horrible way. I can only hope they stop and realize some day that it was part their doing that Michael wasn’t able to live life to the fullest and feel the guild they should feel!

People made millions and millions of dollars of Michael but when he needed their support 99% of those turned their backs and walked away. All for that stupid money and stupid meaningless reputation which never was in danger to begin with. Yes, now it’s in danger, because it’s reflecting negative on them now. But it took him passing away for that to start, a little too late in my opinion.

Everybody who saw the interview with Martin Bashir knew straight away that things were set out to reflect him in a bad way. There have been another tv-program where things were set right by Michael’s own video-taping of the interview. I remember that I saw the first interview with Martin Bashir on TV and I felt a sadness because it was not in line with how I felt Michael was, I’m so glad it was counterspoken and that Michael was able to counterspeak! But it really shows how Michael was constantly surrounded by people who were trying to bring him down. It must have been so tremendously difficult to find light and a positive look on life and the will to keep living and holding onto his own believes – whilst being in the midst of all that negative energy.

Ever since the trial in 2005 there was an emptiness inside of him, a part of him had died in that process. There are moments in interviews from the past years – where he answered questions about his life, where you can see true love and light in his eyes, when he smiled a twinkle lighted up, but most of the time he griefed for the nowadays disconnected society. He had so much love to share and everytime he showed kindness someone took advantage of it and made him suffor till he had no more strenght and God decided that it was time for his son to return home.

Jet Interview - part 1
Jet Interview - part 2
 
Videoclip They don't care about us
 
There are people out there who say “Life goes on, he made great music, but I personally feel no grief.” I respect that. Everybody has their own emotional connections in life. If you don’t feel anything, don’t say it. I honor honesty.

There are people who claim to be friends and grief deeply about his passing but didn’t stand up and speak out loud when Michael went through the difficult peroid of false accusations: because let’s face it, they didn’t want to be connected just in case it gave a black spec or dark reflection on their own carreer à I dispise them! They are trying to get attention now through his passing, all I can say in all it’s crudeness: Up yours!

There are people making sick jokes about his passing: Making fun off it and laughing about it – all I can say to them is “How would you feel if someone else did that about the passing of one of your loved one’s?” Remember what you give it will be returned times three. Karma always balances itselve out! A lot of consideration and respect for other people and their feelings will get you far in life. I will never understand why people do crude things like that and it makes me really sad to see that happening.

Michael was working hard on his comeback – which I know in all confidence – he would have made in such a way that left everybody baffled. He would have been able to hold his head high and show the world the man he is.

In my opinion I think we will never hear the truth about what happened in the room where things occured and at this point it doesn’t matter anymore. I have my thoughts about it but don’t want to go into rumoring about him, I will not lower myself to that point. I’m sure he had good and bad points, it’s what makes us human, we all have our stepping stones to take. I only hope that if it wasn’t natural cause that justice will prevail once more for Michael! He is in his resting place, his soul can heal and he can look back on his life with pride and honor. He stayed true to himself and helped wherever he could with the means he had at hand. He enlightened the lives of so many people.

I however find it difficult to see how long it takes for him to be buried in his final resting place. Even after his death he still cannot find the peace he deserves so much. There’s this whole commotion about his atopsy and such and it feels like his body is dragged all over the place. In my opinion he should be buried at Neverland and to keep that as his final resting place it’ll make a great place for mourning people to go to whenever they feel the need to connect. I know rules and regulations prevent that from happening, but for Michael to be buried on a “public-common” burial ground feels so wrong. Not only because he deserves to have a resting place where his energy is felt by everybody but also because it’s so open to vandalization on such a burial ground. It is just bound to go wrong eventually. I’m already having nightmares about his body being dug up and his thomb/headstone or whatever he will get, being vandalized. People these days just don’t have respect for a final resting place anymore. If Michael would be buried on Neverland he will finally get the peace he craves.


My heart cries out for him and feels like screaming to leave him alone. No more poking around no more pushing and shoving, it’s enough - ENOUGH! That news about his will and what he left to whom is being played out in the media is plain discusting. Ok we get it, he didn’t have financial insight but who cares? He died, there’s a pain in my heart for it, and the need to focus on wanting to remember the person he was (and according to my believe still is) is of so much more value. Let’s all focus on that.

Near to everybody holds some kind of memory to Michael Jackson, through his songs or him as a person and I never expected his passing to touch me this deeply. People are dancing in the streets in his honor, millions if not billions people mourn him, he touched the hearts of more people than anyone else could and if it was up to me he would be up for declaration of sainthood for all the good he did for the world where human society got more distant and careless. He never forgot, so let us not forget and keep up what he set out to do! Embrace the world with love and kindness, help those in need and open your heart for all the pain in the world so we can ‘Heal the world!’

I remember my first Michael Jackson tape, which I got for Sinterklaas (sort of Dutch Santa Claus) it was Thriller, to this day I still have the tape, not able to play it anymore because his ‘Auws’ and “Oehs’ are slightly – read extremely - stretched out and the tape is literally listened to pieces. I was 10 or 11 years old and so very happy that I received it. I really love music – all sorts – but well you know, Michael is Michael. I also at that time received a poster of him (thousands of images on the net and couldn’t find it back!), it was the one from that time in that red royal like outfit with hands folded in front, it has been in my room for years. Later on when my musical direction was more focussed on a boyband that poster slowly disappeared from my bedroom but out of all the posters that have been in my room (and trust me… there were a lot of them!) that one has always stayed in my memory.

The moment that Moonwalker hit the movie theatres me my brother and sister went to see it with my dad – it must be like 8 or 9 times in the theatres. I have it on dvd now (bought it years ago) and every now and then I still watch it. So amazing. That movie touches my emotions on a lot of different levels. Because of the fond memories, but also because in that movie Michael smiles a lot and enjoys himself, it really shows! I always love it when Michael smiles, on film on photo or in sound – when he really laughs his whole face lights up, he gets dimples and always catches my giggles as well.

There is a movie on youtube that shows Michael not being able to stop laughing during an interview, it’s one of my favorites. There is this watch or phone going off during the filming and everytime the journalist wants to ask a question which needs to be translated (it’s an Asian journalist) that darn thing goes off. There are photo’s as well that show Michael smiling – he has such a broad smile that hits his eyes when he is thorougly enjoying something, but there’s a different with smiling politely and really smiling and with Michael you can tell the difference! There are also photo’s where Michael seems so deep in his thoughts and into his own world that it makes me long to be able to read his mind to tell what he’s thinking. It brings out the caring part in me because you can see the sadness in him, the sufforing.

Whenever I see/saw Michael perform live – he does so with so much energy and dynamics that it invigorates me as well, making me want to get up, shake my hips and my heart just overflows with joy. I think that is what makes Michael special to me. He touches parts of my soul, he brings out a better person in me and makes me think about and reflect on my life. How I can be a better person. I recognize bits of my own personality in him. I sometimes catch myself being in my own world, I recognise the need to fight for injustice as well, but I cannot do things on such a large scale. I recognize that the negative energy being send of to me from people outside my family all throughout my life ever since I was 9 years old and how it closed myself and toughened a part of me. It is only now that I realize and recognize what it is that makes me drawn towards Michael Jackson on a personal level instead of only through his music.

I feel like I can write for hours. Every time I finish a sentence another one pops up in my mind. My emotions are like a rollercoaster and to describe them all would be too much and I think some thoughts should be kept private because they are so very personal to me.



***********

At about 8.55CET I went on my way to my familly and every now and then in the car, my eyes teared up and wave of grief touched me. I let my feelings be, felt them as they came and send out my sincerest condolences to the people who truly cared about him and to whom this news came as a shock I can imagine.

Later that day I heared that online stores ran out of Michael’s cd’s and dvd’s. I can forsee like the rest of the world that – like with Elvis Presley – years from now: Michael’s music will still be played – remixed – and re-released a lot. He was and will always be the man who changed music forever.

June 25th, 2009 will go down in history as the ‘black day’ for music – the day when the Legendary King of Pop passed away.

Michael, rest in peace, I hope you finally found the loving place where they care about you for who you are, what you believe and where I know you can give out and receive the unconditional love that you longingly looked for down here but never truly found to cherish in your personal life. Don’t forget to collect your wings, so you’ll be able to fly amongst the angels!

Untill we meet again!

In love and light,

Natascha

This column is copyright protected and may not be duplicated as a part of it or as whole, without the writers written permission.

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Natascha
Winschoten, Groningen, Netherlands

With everything new, I ofcourse, had to get used to the idea of making, owning and maintaining a blog but I have to say, now that I’ve got the hang of it, it’s quite fun to do. Let me introduce myself, I’m Natascha, in my early 30’s and from a little place called Winschoten in the Netherlands, I’ll be your host on this blog.

As an avid reader you’ll find that most of my blogs will maintain reviews, books, topics about books, writing and such, but as I am a diverse person myself, it will include many other topics on things that I find interesting in life. So welcome to my world, and happy blogging!
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