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REMEMBER MY BEAUTIES: A Novel ~Lynne Hugo

July 25th, 2016

TLC Book Tours   sent me this e book for review. It was an advanced readers copy and as I have read another of Lynne Hugo’s books and I know they were well edited, I believe this copy needs some more editing; not the usual for this author who truly does her research and homework.  The story is good and interesting and the two awkward jumps in the story were disconcerting.

So many stories of drug and alcohol problems are centered on the middle class and educated families.  This story was center on a southern rural family on the lower edge of the middle class and rough around the edges. Their language skills were so poor they could not articulate or move their problems forward and they became stuck in a cycle of blame and negativity – a rather vicious barrier.  The middle child Jewel is their only asset and she is working herself to the bone trying to keep her house, get her child off drugs and into the future, keep her blind father and ill mother clean and cared for and work her own job.   Jewel is verbally abused by her family and is exhausted and not appreciated by her husband or his teenage children. Life is too much.  Her older alcoholic, druggie brother drifts home and Jewel goes on strike.

What keeps Jewel functioning and holding on is her horse and her father’s three horses.  She sneaks onto the property to care for her Beauties and exercise them. The several sections of the story that are the horses’ thoughts are quite wonderful. The horses are the key to reconciliation and to the family’s future.  There is hope and there is a possibility to teach new tricks and ideas, when Jewel takes her firm stand.

People don’t know what they don’t know.  They did not understand other options and truly needed the wisdom of teachers and counselors with a bigger worldview and an ability to problem-solve.  There appears to be many, many people like this in the southern regions of the USA, but also in the rural regions of many states.  If it were not for the horses and their love the cycle would not have been broken.  It was not a very wide rift, the family would need more tears in the fabric of their lives in order to fully communicate and see the need for more language skills to create a more solid future.  This story emphasizes the ways people are isolated, separated and forgotten in our society.  An interesting read overall and needs a good discussion to go with it.

About the author:

“Lynne Hugo has published ten previous books, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her memoir, Where the Trail Grows Faint, won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize in 2004, and her sixth novel, A Matter of Mercy, was awarded an Independent Publisher silver medal for best regional fiction in 2014. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she lives in Ohio with her husband and their yellow Labrador retriever” (TLC page)

Lynne Hugo Website
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THE LIGHT OF GRACE: Journeys of an Angel ~Kasey Claytor

July 18th, 2016

“The Light of Grace is an amazing journey through space and time and the most incredible journey of all – the one within.” – Mark Anthony, The Psychic Lawyer

THE LIGHT OF GRACE produces a number of hopeful feelings as one reads through each story.  The book is long and I needed to have set aside more time for reading as the stories held a denseness of ideas and lots of details.  Switching through various time periods gave a progression of history and as I always have a problem with time in metaphysical/ spiritual writings there was some confusion for me.  Mixing up the different stories seemed to decrease the concern.

Grace is becoming an angel and she is “assigned” 4 humans to mentor in 4 different time zones.  I believe this paragraph from the cover explains it with more clarity:

“THE LIGHT OF GRACE takes readers on an epic spiritual adventure as Grace, a newly-assigned angel, is given four humans to guide: Mumbi, an innovative prehistoric girl guided to break through limitations; Garth, a devout 14th century Christian who questions his faith; Arnina, a sensitive woman in the 21st century who seeks to rid herself of anxiety and fear; and Alistair, an extraordinary man living in the 26th century who explores the planes of consciousness.”

I would have liked this story better if there had been a chapter of explanation or introduction to the book before I began.  It was too much to just dive in and I did not find it similar to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s or Deepak Chopra’s work.  I did appreciate the story and yet it did take me a long time to get connected.  The reviews on Amazon are nearly all 5 stars and extremely positive.

Larissa Ackerman of the Claire McKinney PR firm sent me a copy of this book for review.    I have enjoyed all the books they have sent but I am not sure I was the right reviewer for this particular book.  I only dabble in metaphysics.  Very good storytelling and interpretations, the individuals were well explored and expressed. There was simplicity in each story, which provided several interpretations and clarity.  I was happy to read the book and for the opportunity.

Kasey Claytor is a metaphysical teacher, certified meditation instruction, money manager, and inspirational speaker.  She loves to teach others ways to find happiness and has penned several books on prosperity and spirituality, including THE 7 LAWS OF RAISING FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT KIDS and THE GOD OF ANNA. Claytor lives with her husband and dog on a lagoon in Florida.

Kasey Claytor Facebook

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FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU: An American Boy in France ~ Thad Carhart

July 11th, 2016

“Long before mass tourism and globalization, France was simple, soulful, and every inch stimulating.  Carhart knew it all and shares this with us with the deftness and insight of a master storyteller.”  (Cover:  Leonard Pitt, author of WALKS THROUGH LOST PARIS)

FINDING FONTAINBEBLEAU is a beguiling memoir of post war France with loving stories about baguettes and penmanship learned with quill pens and black ink.  I enjoyed every page and every story in this book and was sad when I turned the last page.  At age 4, Carhart’s military family was moved from the Virginia suburbs to Fontainebleau, France.  The family celebrated their move with trips all over the countryside and discoveries while attending French schools.  With five children and a big old “woodie” Chevy station wagon they explored.  The author captures a great deal about French culture and habits.  It is a remarkable story.

The Nazi invasion truly made a difference to the hearts and minds of the French and the subtle protections on the individual levels are recorded in the stories.  PBS is doing a series on the importance of NATO and this story talks about the beginnings of those treaties.  War changes so much.
About the Author

The son of an air force officer, Thad Carhart grew up in a variety of places, including Washington, D.C.; Fontainebleau, France; Minneapolis; Amherst, Massachusetts; and Tokyo. After graduating from Yale, he worked for the State Department as an interpreter. His first book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, appeared in 2000, published by Random House. Across the Endless River, a historical novel came out in 2009 with Doubleday. He lives in Paris. (AMAZON)

Thad Carhart Website
Thad Carhart Facebook
Thad Carhart Twitter

I was constantly thinking about who I wanted to share this book with and for what occasion.  Carhart has returned to France with his family as an adult and has been given tours by the architect who is refurbishing The Castle Fontainebleau.  The layers of tile, the roofing material, the commitment of the people of France to their historic sites and the damage done by millions of tourists as they visit is fascinating.  Then the stories of the Kings, Queens, Mistresses and how they changed the buildings and added on to the design, and how consistent and authentic the designs and repairs were to the original buildings – fascinating.

The author’s Mother and the recorded stories about the 5 siblings and their adjustments to a new house and country are loving and often humorous.  The word delightful just keeps coming to mind.

I just wrapped up my copy for the biking architect in my family as his birthday is tomorrow and he will so enjoy this story to the max.  It did make me want to visit France and particularly Fontainebleau.  I have been excitedly talking about the book at my book groups as even though it is a very different read, I think they will enjoy the look at the 50s and what it would be like to be transplanted, not knowing the language, as a child.

TLC Book Tours   sent this book to me for review and it is wonderful.

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THE MIND-GUT CONNECTION: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health ~Emeran Mayer, MD

July 8th, 2016

I love to eat raspberries and it is my love of raspberries that made me want to read this book.  To me raspberries are nearly perfect food from the delight they pose to my tongue all the way as they travel through the GI track, bringing usable fiber and seeds of joy to my brain.  My pro-biotic and my raspberries just make my system work well and I feel well and thus happy.

In the MIND -GUT CONNECTION Dr. Mayer decodes the GI track and introduces a whole range of microbes that keep our systems healthy and strong.  New studies and research are revealed, which have been found to heal and soothe and bring happiness.  There is mention of lots of new medications and lots of studies about the rising incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and even autism relationships but this book is not primarily about how to cure the problems, rather it is suggesting the cause for the problems and how neglecting gut health produces severe problem.

Dr. Mayer is defining glowing Overall Health and how to understand and heal when a bump distracts from you progress.  He is very concerned about our environments, our lifestyles, and our self-care.  I am sure he would stress organic foods and simple foods first.   I heard a famous chef once say one should eat organic veggies and fruit 5 days a week, then one day of anything you want and one day to modify back into the 5 day routine.   I think this was what Dr. Mayer was describing only through using a Mediterranean Diet.

What stress does to our GI track is quite alarming and scary.  We truly need to take time to eat and not mix eating with other activities.  We need not sit down to eat when we are angry and we need to take time to calm our insides and ourselves before we begin eating.  Even better is to eat with friends or relatives and feel a sense of contentment and happiness.

The microbes in our GI track are crucial to our staving off Alzheimer’s, Obesity, and Parkinson’s Disease and his recommendations for pre-natal care and eating are very good.   We know that now the Gut is considered the Second Brain for our bodies and I think Dr. Mayer would say it is the first as it has a profound role in our brain activities, and thinking skills, not  to mention our emotional health.

This book is full of myth busters and really has the straight skinny.  It is ease to read and gentle with explanations.  When I was in the hospital recently for test, every nurse and OT and PT who came to see me picked up and looked at the book.  I said it was good and as one nurse said: “I think this is vital information and better than thinking a cup of pro-biotic yogurt will bring all back to health.”

TLC Book Tours sent me an uncorrected proof copy of this book to review.  It is well worth it to get to the truth and find a healthy balance to achieve optimal health.  It is all the health knowledge along with all the directives that my daughter just paid $200 for a Dr. appointment prescription for the exact same information.  Very worthwhile investment.

Cover:

Dr. Emeran Mayer previously served as the founding chair of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, as the executive director of the UCLA Center for Neuro-biology of Stress, and as the codirector of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center.  He has joint appointments in the departments of Medicine, Physiology, and Psychiatry.  His work has appeared in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE and has been featured in PSHYCHOLOGY TODAY, NEW YORK TIMES, THE SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON) and on NPR and PBS.  He lives in Los Angeles, California

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