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THE AUSTEN ESCAPE: A Novel Novel ~Katherine Reay

November 20th, 2017

Falling into their past will change their futures forever

Do you love reading Jane Austen?   Then I cannot encourage you enough to read THE AUSTEN ESCAPE.  A wonderful book and a most enjoyable read.   I have now read it 2 times and I am taking it on a small vacation with me.   Reay has captured Austen’s conversation style and the format of the book deals with conventions, economics, and circumstance that are abundant in our current times. The story builds and flows as though Austen is writing it herself.  Wonderful read.

About the author:
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com.

Mary Davis is a design engineer working at her “perfect” job although she has a new supervisor who is critical and negative about her work.  She likes control and her set patterns in life while doing everything herself.  It is proving hard to go into work and her love interest is a consultant who is moving onward and does not seem to know that she is interested.

Isobel, Mary’s best friend since second grade, is working on her Doctorate on Jane Austen and her books.  Isobel’s mother left when she was young and her father never had time for her so Isobel adopted Mary’s family as her own.  Isobel is going to a two week retreat to Bath, England to live out a complete experience of being in Austen’s time period and she is insisting that Mary take some time off from her work frustrations and come to the retreat with her.  The trip is all paid for and Mary’s father insists that it is a good idea; she has not taken a break since her mother’s death.  Mary decides to attend and starts re-reading the Austen books.

The English Manor House where the retreat is held is stunning and the other guests on the retreat very interesting indeed.  The reproduced clothing is elegant and refined and they all pick an Austen character to enact for their stay.  Isobel’s father chooses this moment to overwhelm her with awful news and causes Isobel a small mental breakdown and truly believes she is in Bath and that she has become Emma.  Mary is left to guide her back to herself and in the process makes some terrible discoveries about their relationship, which entails some major working through – including working out her “perfect” job problems and making changes.

The book is most interesting and carries through the story line well and with great Austen-like aplomb.  I am sure my daughters would enjoy this book to the max.   I can highly recommend it and I am so happy that THE AUSTEN EXPERIENCE was sent to me for review.

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Related:
The Forbidden Garden
The Fifth Petal


THE PSYCHOBIOTIC REVOLUTION: Mood, Food and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection ~Scott C. Anderson with John F. Cryan, PH.D & Ted Dinan, M.D. PH.D

November 16th, 2017

I found THE PSYCHOBIOTIC REVOLUTION to be compelling reading.  The authors have combined all the most significant information and then gleaned out the important issues that the reader needs to know in an extremely easy to read book, which becomes a real page-turner.  This short book certainly relates to “You are what you Eat!”

Not much of this material was new to me, as I have spent 40 years cooking and caring for Celiac Disease and Severe Allergies.  I already know leaky gut, and digestion issues well.  I was pleased to discover all the important information and integration of knowledge about gut microbes and how these facts can assist in anxiety and depression relief.  Add into the mix oxygen from exercise and most of us do not need Prozac or Opioids in our lives – just good healthy, organic foods.  Sugar was confirmed as feeding many of the problem organisms in our gut and our life.

“Offering microbial-based solutions for the most pressing mental and physical issues, this book is a must-read.  Brilliant, insightful, and highly readable.” (Rodney Dietert, Cornell University, author of THE HUMAN SUPERORGANISM.)

Probiotics are not all the same, and it is important to take some form everyday.  If you ever experienced C-Diff after being hospitalized, had surgery, or taken antibiotics, one soon discovers how important those good microbes are within our digestive system.

The book takes us though the gut and the journey of our food from mouth to – Oh you know where it is headed!   Then the mental health issues are discussed including the daily psychology/ microbes we need to know to feel a sense of well-being and to maintain our physical health.  Anxiety and Depression are major health problems in our busy and chaotic world.  Nearly every student I know understands the importance of microbes, smart nutrition, and gut health after periods of stress such as midterm exam week and playing in a competitive sporting event.  There are lots and lots of commercials on TV touting products to relieve gut symptoms.  This book has better descriptors, more science and more proof of how important our “gut brain” is to our health.   The book is extremely readable and of course, informative.

“Lactobacteria can act like an opioid and cannabinoid receptors of the brain-like a shot of morphine.” (p56)

This book made me consider the question: Is the American Diet truly keeping us dull, dumb, anxious, diseased, and depressed as a form of control?

Rob Knight author of FOLLOW YOUR GUT says, “Up-to-the-minute research and practical advice on the gut-brain axis – perhaps the most exciting area of science today”

About the authors
Scott C Anderson is a veteran science journalist with a specialization in medical topic and computer programming.

John F. Cryan, a neuroscientist, and Ted Dinan a psychiatrist, are professors at University College Cork, Ireland, and principal investigators with the APC Microbiome Institute, world renowned for research on the micro-biome in health and disease.

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Related:
Sugar Crush
The Mind Gut Connection
Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition


SEEDS OF REVENGE: A Green House Mystery (Book #3) ~Wendy Tyson

November 13th, 2017

SEEDS OF REVENGE is the third book about Megan Sawyer’s small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania.  Megan has left being an environmental lawyer to come home and manage her family farm, the small store and café, and start her life over again.  Her husband was killed in Afghanistan and she needed to do something else. The story begins as she is heading home from Philadelphia where she has been trying to sell her micro-greens to restaurants and she is plowing through the first snowstorm of the season.

In her sturdy truck, Megan picks up a young woman who is having car trouble and so is trying to walk to town. Rebecca Fox is starting a new business and is going to live with her Aunt.    The Fox family is about to have a reunion as arranged by the Aunt and this is not a happy experience and Megan is drawn into the fray when Rebecca’s father is murdered.

Apparently this small town has experienced two other murders and Megan has been very helpful in finding the truth, even when her farm is implicated.  She is definitely a very clever and intelligent person.  She has lots of family drama to unravel of her own and I think there will be another book or two until everything is revealed.

The story is full of lots of small town connections and folksy family events as the reader is in the lead up to Christmas.  We can enjoy the family members and the caroling parties and also the Great Aunt who writes mystery novels.  4 of her books are about revenge murders and are playing an important role in this particular story.

We are also treated to some interesting food treats and a daring amount of Holiday Cookies.

ABOUT WENDY TYSON

“Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives on a micro-farm with her husband, sons, and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.”  (PR SHEET)

This book was sent to me as an advanced copy for review by: Larissa Ackerman, Claire McKinneyPR, LLC

It was a good read and I know a number of my readers will enjoy reading all three books.  A nice little romance is blooming and the characters are interesting and you just might find them next door.   A delightful read and a good escape that I can recommend.

Related:
Thief’s Mark
A Beautiful Poison
Fudge and Jury


THE SILENT FOUNTAIN: A Mystery Novel ~Victoria Fox

November 6th, 2017

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN tells its tale during two time periods and surrounding one main character through the unraveling of secrets to come to the final resolution of all the mysteries.   There is a darkness to the story.

Hollywood, 1978
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Each of the two women’s stories begins with confusion about what is happening in their lives and how this problem came into being.   The reader then needs to read the interspersed backstories to finally figure out how the tragedies of their lives were played out into the contemporary situation.  They each had tough lives and hard luck experiences to get them to their current contact with each other.  The reader learns a lot about love, abuse and death to work up to the ending release and the complete overview of the story and the resolutions.

Most of my book group loves this kind of wound up formal mystery, but we have 2 members who will not read them after the first 25 pages if the confusion remains.  So this book will not be for everyone.   I had much of the story figured out and found reading the Hollywood sections of the story as though it was a segment on The Carol Burnett Show gave me more interest in the read.   There is a lot of darkness in the story and mental illness is exposed and exploited in the plot.

The story is almost more a puzzle to be pieced together and explored as to which piece fits where to bring together the whole.  There is not a great deal of great Italian Cooking in the novel either nor is the countryside expounded upon.  There is intensity.

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Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.

Related:
Two From Isaac’s House
The Light Between Oceans
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment