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LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)

“This is a gorgeous book of poetry. It is as hot as you would expect, given the title. Many of the poems reveal scorching, intimate moments between passionate lovers. But these poems go way beyond erotica. What makes them special for me is how they call forth the essence of intimacy’s gifts. For instance, in one of my favorite selections, “Create,” the first line evokes the very nature of what love offers us: “Make me the person I want to become, draw from me the secrets buried under, the facade of responsibilities.” Wow. Buy this book for everyone you know who lusts…and loves.”
~ Charlotte Rains Dixon


Every morning I read a poem or listen to a poem on several different websites, as I enjoy my glass of water and ease into the day. LUST was the first audiobook of poetry that I experienced and it was so sensual and provocative and relaxing while stimulating so many senses. What a way to awaken. LUST is a gift.

Every morning the happy pup and I walk 2 miles and move up hill then down, recently to avoid the heat of the day we often see sunrise. I put on my headphones and listened to this audiobook every step of the way. The sun broke through the marine air and touched our whole being like a lover and we listened to LUST 3 full times all the way through just walking and feeling alive.

The poems move through the erotic path of young love to the new parent’s stage, into the middle years and on to memories and reflections. The gifts of sexuality given over time. The words describe the sexuality of loss and dis-illusion with an amazing gentle energy that is full of release, opportunity and joy. The whole life explored as an erotic adventure with beautiful and harsh words.

I liked it all, and when I went to check out what Amazon was sharing about the book, others must like it as well, because there were only 4 copies left with the original printing of the book.

I apologize to Diana Raab for posting this tour review a day late, because I would highly recommend this as a special gift for so many friends and for the sensual feelings which arise for everyone with her delightful words. Here we are now…to let you enjoy and experience a whole lifetime of pleasures and fantasies – LUST

tlc logo TLC online Booktours and the author attempted to send me a copy of this audiobook – I ended up purchasing the book and I am very happy I did. Lovely words –precisely spoken- beautiful communication.

The website is very interesting to explore: “Diana Raab, Ph.D., is a memoirist, poet, blogger and transpersonal psychologist. Her educational background includes health administration, nursing, creative writing and psychology.” (from her website)

LUST was just the read I needed to enjoy. LUST is touching poetry. LUST is Diana Raab’s fifth book of poetry.

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FLINGS: Stories ~Justin Taylor

“And it’s true that the only thing the kids remember about most of this stuff is buying it: the jolt of commercial desire followed by the soft shock of success as the parental wallet opened – and then the getting bored.”  (page 94 ‘Mike’s Song’ of an uncorrected proof copy of the book)


We’ve got a dozen stories by a good writer in FLINGS and I very much enjoy short stories these days and I would call it a good read and an interesting experience.   FLINGS was just right for the business of my life in the autumn harvest and before the winter big read season.

The reader experiences an excerpt of the whole life story of a great many characters in FLINGS.  Although one character from a story as a secondary pivot character, finds his own chapter later on, this is not a group of connected stories like OLIVE KITTERIDGE  or WHAT THE ZHANG BOYS KNOW. What the characters have as a common thread is that they have left some place or state of being and are now trying to identify their next move and forward motion.  The characters all seemed like New Yorkers though much of the action took place in other locations such as Hong Kong, Portland,Oregon, Ohio, Canada and Tennessee.   I don’t know if I can say this but as the characters wander about in search of their new states of being, the writing has a driven aspect that keeps the reader moving page after page.

Lots of themes about academia, music and writing with an overall literary quality; fascinating to read about what young men think about women and college girls these days.  The movies too reveal a lot of just random sex, and never much about the meaning of life or the depth of communication or relationship possibilities.  Maybe they will just wander into the right place or the right person for them while trying on 6 or 7 at a time.   Life as performance art and auditions.   I lost interest in several stories because of this lack and actually several books recently because of this current writing trend.

Several of the characters are well developed because of the fine writing; there was a searching quality to many of the stories which left me sometimes searching myself, wanting more so I would create what I thought would happen next.  Limbo?  Younger writers like this wanting feeling, I do not want it in all twelve stories.  I had to dig to find humor even though several reviewers found it very fun.  We all search for connection and our spot in life just maybe we do not find it until as the Baptist’s in my town say: “He’s been called home.”

Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy.  He lives, writes and teaches in New York City.

Harper Collins site for Taylor
Taylor’s Website
TLC book tours

It was a pleasure to read FLINGS and I am thankful for the opportunity.

“Every choice makes us and remakes us.  What’s incredible, Danielle thought, is not that we might have been somebody else, or nobody, but rather that despite everything we are somehow still ourselves.” (Page 207 of uncorrected copy.)

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A MATTER OF MERCY: a NOVEL ~Lynne Hugo

“A moon tide rising was the worst time for bad weather, but moon tides are the best for working because the stronger gravitational pull makes the water recede farther.  Yet even a storm that clouts during the front of the moon tide can be capricious enough to leave one grant almost untouched while those adjacent might be fouled or wiped out.” (page 15 of uncorrected copy)

Forgiveness is a difficult story to write and to write it well, and yet Lynne Hugo does just that in A MATTER OF MERCY.  The author applies a mature voice to the process of redemption as she wraps an interesting fictional tale around an actual lawsuit.  The story gives us lots of details about the oyster farming business in Cape Cod Bay, lots of environmental information, great moments of confused decision making when one has not forgiven themselves, and what can happen when vacationing millionaires believe they own someone else’s land – life.

Laurie Buchanan on FB reminded me of this Brene’ Brown wisdom while I was reading this book and it helped me understand the point:

“You either walk inside your story and own it or You stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

Caroline has reluctantly come home to Massachusetts from Chicago, where she has been hiding since she was in prison for a DUI resulting in a death, lost her teaching certificate, and her husband.  Her mother, a potter, is dying of Ovarian Cancer and with the help of Hospice and Caroline she can be in her last days close to her view of the bay and the oyster grants.  Her daughter is afraid to be in town because it is the scene of the crime and she believes everyone judges her still.   She is in the place where making decisions is very hard a kind of limbo and she loves the days her mother can talk with her.

Ridley Neal is a young man who also spent time in prison because of youthful drug issues.   He is the owner of one of the oyster grants in the bay; left to him by his father.  He has discovered he likes the hard work and that being an aquaculturist is in his blood and definitely part of his future.  Oyster farming involves driving trucks onto the beach at low tide and moving the vehicle as the tide moves back into the shore; the workers use lights for harvesting and maintenance work when the tides are low at night.  The wealthy folks in the vacation homes on the bluff have concluded that the trucks, oysters, workers and lights ruin their view and interfere with their rights.  They may just win because being an oysterman does not produce enough funds for expensive lawsuits.   The lawsuit is a good study for any coastal village or community to be aware of in this day and age.  I could relate.

Lynne Hugo did a great deal of research on the tasks of the oyster farmer and she gives a good credit to the aquaculturist community for providing her with needed information and resources on her quest for this novel.  Ms. Hugo sent me a gracious thank you note, bookmarks and postcards for agreeing to review her book here.

Lynne Hugo Online

There are quite a few pictures of the area of the oyster farmers on Cape Cod on the blog and more information sharing.

“Lynne Hugo is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient who has also received grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.  She has published five previous novels, one of which became a Lifetime Original Movie of the Month, two books of poetry, and a children’s book.  Her memoir, WHERE THE TRAIL GOES FAINT, won the Riverteeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize.  Born and educated in New England, she and her husband currently live in Ohio with a yellow Lab feared by squirrels in a three state area. “(from book cover)

tlc logo TLC online book tours  and the author sent me an uncorrected copy  of  A MATTER OF MERCY and I can highly recommend  A MATTER OF MERCY to my readers ,  a great gift read,  get it  on your list.

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Outlander Premieres on Starz – Guest Blogger Elizabeth Eckhart

This write up about the new OUTLANDER TV series was proposed and written by blogger & writer Elizabeth Eckhart and because I have reviewed the Outlander series on my blog as great books to read, we thought her analysis of the series might add to the discussion on the blog.  So I will step aside and share what Elizabeth wants to say:

~


When the new series Outlander debuted August 9 on Starz, it attracted a whopping five million viewers. That’s not surprising given the long-running series’ devoted fan base, many of whom took advantage of Starz’ current online streaming (for the first episode only, anyone could watch it) and teaser videos. Diana Gabaldon’s sprawling collection of books, first published in 1991, includes eight main novels which she describes on her blog as “big, enormous books,” as well as smaller novellas and short stories set in the series’ world.

That world is a complex mix of places and times. The story’s protagonist is a World War II era nurse named Claire Randall who finds herself whisked back in time to 18th century Scotland, where she’s nearly abducted by the evil ancestor of her loving husband Frank, a history teacher and former M16 agent. Claire becomes caught up in clan politics and eventually is taken under the protection of Clan Mackenzie, where she begins to fall in love with Scotsman Jamie Fraser.

It may sound primarily like a time-traveling romance, but Gabaldon herself insists that in many ways her stories resist easy classification. You’ll hear them described as historical fiction, mystery, fantasy and even science-fiction, much like the similar literary series Game of Thrones (the TV adaptation which is also available online, through Direct TV). That last appellation may be the biggest reason that Ronald D. Moore, of Battlestar Galactica fame, was a natural choice to executive produce the project, which he terms “magical fantasy.”

The success of the first two episodes has already guaranteed the show a second season. Outlander is being shot on location in the Scottish Highlands, and the detailed care given to period and costume settings will undoubtedly keep fans of the books happy. Fans of Game of Thrones might also recognize the castle setting, since both shows use the courtyard of Castle Doune, a fascinating though challenging place to shoot due to complicated logistics.

Devoted fans may also be comfortable with the slow pace of the show. Since the entire first season is based solely on the first novel, the creators have been able to take their time revealing complex layers of the plot and in developing characters. This is a luxury that feature filmmakers, with only two hours at their disposal, simply can’t afford. While there is some concern that the slow pace might not keep the attention of potential fans that aren’t already familiar with the novels, that’s a risk the show’s creators seem willing to take. Given the strong built-in fan base, it may be more important to stay true to the novel’s contours, something that Variety’s Laura Prudom thinks the first episode, at least, does very well.

Irish actress Caitriona Balfe plays Claire and provides the voice-over narration. That narration echoes the first person nature of the books, and keeps viewers invested in exploring this strange world right along with Claire. The voice-over may feel heavy in initial episodes but lessens as the show goes on, according to critics who have seen more of the first season. Claire’s husband Frank is played by Tobias Menzies, who doubles as his own sinister ancestor Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, while Scottish Sam Heughan takes on the role of Claire’s 18th century love interest Jamie. Balfe is receiving kudos for her turn as the strong, displaced heroine.

True to the books, the show contains some bodice ripping moments, but for the most part Outlander doesn’t linger on scenes of sex or violence. The main charm for viewers so far seems to echo the appeal of the books. This complex story world is fun to explore, and the show’s creators seem to be having a delightful time setting it up for us.

Elizabeth Eckhart on Twitter 

My neighborhood has a group to discuss the Outlander series new on Starz and they have a go to lunch group who want even more discussion time too.  Have you discovered these books and the new series?   I saw the pilot free and it was so well done.    Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your thoughts and just maybe we will get a good discussion going in the comments section?  What do you think?

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Outlander Series