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SINGING BEYOND SORROW: A Year of Grief, Gratitude, and Grace ~Carole Marie Downing

An extraordinary personal journal of grief is translated into a book of comfort for those suffering a loss or tragedy and it holds a person/the reader up and carries them into a new stage of gratitude, faith and hope.  It does not leave out the ups and downs and it is personal and yet encompasses ideas and strategies which connect to numerous situations and it is healing.

Downing found that writing about her day- to-day experience for the year after her husband’s death from cancer assisted her in coping and understanding her emotions.  As a former Hospice Nurse studying to become a consultant to families and individuals making big changes in their lives, she found the practice of keeping a journal kept her grounded in her progress and real with the changes she needed to undertake as a widow and a single parent.

The poetry and quotes in the book are just amazing and kept this reader contemplating their relevance in her life situation.   The writing was just lovely and the organization of the journal entries were meaningful and although I was not grieving a death, I was recovering from a big surgery that is changing my life significantly;  I found reading this book to be soothing and challenged my thinking bringing a calm to my deliberations and energies.

The last section of the book is a grouping of the profound lessons Downing learned over the year.  These are things about self-care, making decisions, parenting a grieving child with bursts of big happiness, and how to keep love, gratitude and hope within reach to become a guiding light in those moments of profound darkness.

I have read a number of books about death and grief and I believe this one is one of the better resources I have encountered.   I would like to get the word out about this one because although very personal, I think it covers so many of the stages and aspects a human experiences after a death or trauma, that I believe the insights are extremely worthwhile.  Will you please share this review on other social media sites and assist me in getting the word out?  Thank you

I underlined so many wonderful statements in this book, I just need to share the whole book with people  – it is that good!

The author sent me a copy of her book and asked me to review on patriciaswisdom and I was very happy to do so, I am hoping that the word will travel far and wide.

Carole Marie Downing has a gratitude coaching practice in Portland, Oregon, sings with the Portland Peace Choir, shares life with her son and a dog named Alta.

Carole Marie Downing On Twitter
Carole Marie Downing On Goodreads

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FIXED IN BLOOD: A Justice Novel ~T.E.Woods

I could hardly wait to get a copy FIXED IN BLOOD and read it from cover to cover.  The fourth book in the justice series by Woods, I have reviewed each of the others and enjoyed each one.   Each book left me wanting to read more of Woods’ stories.

Alibi sent me an uncorrected advanced copy of the book for review on my blog and it arrived with perfect timing.   I was excited to open the copy and dive into this exciting read.

Dr. Lydia Corriger is a psychologist who works on the west coast of the USA and helps the homicide detective Mort Grant, of Seattle PD, profile the killers he is tracking down.  She is very pro-female needs and agendas; working to make the world a safer place for children, particularly those in foster care.  Her positive energy and understanding do create a positive energy for females and indicates someone is looking out for women and other victims.

Mort Grant is a fine detective, who has lost his wife to cancer and his daughter to dangerous adventure.  His son writes books about his father’s work and interesting cases.  The characters make for an interesting study of humans and their working efforts; they are very real and believable.

That the books take place in my neck of the woods is also very motivating.  They include details which actually happened in my part of the country and that have motivated some very big changes in our local justice system.   I like the details that are included from our area.  I am sure I know which building in town is Dr. Corriger’s office and where her favorite coffee shop is located.

The books are well written and a fast read for me and although the subject matter is not so easy to handle, the story lines are good and the hope of good resolution is satisfying.   We are on the I-5 drug smuggling corridor and that is very apparent in these stories, though I am not so sure about the Russian Mafia being so heavily involved.  This idea is very possible.

At the end of the book it says: “T. E.  Woods is a clinical psychologist and author living in Madison, Wisconsin.  For random insight into how her strange mind works, follow her: tewoodswrites.com, Facebook.com/TEWoodsWrites;  @tewooodswrites“

Related Reading:
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DISINTEGRATION: A Windy City Dark Mystery ~Richard Thomas

This is one of the darkest books I have ever read.  It was so black that I just could not believe that the author was so prized and that folks were praising this story.  The beginning was so confusing and disorienting that the reader knows right away that the main character is either very mentally ill or a drug addicted and is in such tremendous pain it is hard to keep turning the pages and going forward.  It does resolve into a coherent story more that half way through and yet I did not find this reassuring or satisfying.

“A dark existential thriller of unexpected twists, featuring a drowning man determined to pull the rest of the world under with him, Disintegration is a stunning and vital piece of work.”—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting (from Amazon’s book page)

Thomas’ biography on Amazon

BIO: Richard Thomas is the author of seven books: Three novels, Disintegration and The Breaker (Random House Alibi), and Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections, Tribulations (TBA), Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press), and Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press); as well as one novella of The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 100 stories published, his credits include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 & 3, and Shivers 6. He has won contests at ChiZine, One Buck Horror, and Jotspeak and has received five Pushcart Prize nominations to date. He is also the editor of four anthologies: Exigencies and The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk (finalist for the Bram Stoker Award). In his spare time he is a columnist at LitReactor and Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. He has taught at LitReactor, the University of Iowa, StoryStudio Chicago, and in Transylvania. His agent is Paula Munier at Talcott Notch. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com.

I found the book to be horrifying and hard to read as the underworld and maybe Russian Mafia are exposed for the rest of the world to see and comprehend.   It was so hard to read and I had to keep putting it down and leaving it alone for hours at a time.  I now have it completed and see that it has a huge 5 star rating on Amazon already and the critics are loving how hard hitting it is and surly.  Apparently, I may be the only one who does not like this dark a read.   Maybe I am naïve and just have a high need to ignore this section of our society and pretend it does not exist.   I was so happy when the book was complete, finished and the read done.    I do agree that the book it hard hitting and sticks with the reader long after completion.

So this confusing man is writing the story and sharing with the reader this tough existence he is experiencing.  His assignments are shoved under the door and so he heads out to begin killing people, smoking dope, drinking and drinking and drinking and rarely eating.   He talks about his family being killed in a car accident through listening to his answering machine in little semi – revealing bursts.  Life hardly matters to him he is blind and doped up all the time and full of anger and rage.  Near the end of the book he has figured out what has happened to him and he kills his source.

TLC Book Tours sent me an advanced copy of this book for review and I can honestly say I read it cover to cover.   There are folks really enjoying this dark read and Thomas’s writing but I do not know if I can recommend this book to anyone.

Related:
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MIREILLE: New Steamy Summer Romance ~Molly Cochran

“Near the end of World War II, seventeen-year-old Mireille de Jouarre flees the home of her stepfather, a Nazi collaborator and abusive drunk.  She finds shelter with her childhood friend Stefan, and the two fall deeply in love.  But as the fighting escalates, Mireille must escape alone to Paris, where she discovers she’s pregnant and lacking a way to provide for her child.”  (from cover)

The e-book of MIREILLE is free right now on Amazon and the paperback is extremely reasonable for a 638 page romance.   TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected paperback copy for review and though hefty to get through it was an interesting read.

Though the story begins during the WWII days and all the problems of that time period and the Nazi invasion, we seem to quickly move into the world of high-class prostitution and survival needs.   MIREILLE become known as the The Angel and becomes one of the top escorts in Paris.   She and her friend Barbara are able to hire nanny service for the baby and keep it a secret.  The Life takes her to parties of the wealthy men from all over the world and the world of fashion and jewelry fuels the glamour.

At a weekend party in England MIREILLE meets an American Oliver Jordan, who is married to a very wealthy woman and is himself an incredible womanizer and film producer.   With some pathway distractions, MIREILLE signs a contract with Jordan and by 1962 is winning an Academy Award for her movie acting.  She is treated brutally by Jordan.

There is a great deal of blackmail in the story and sexual violence begins to be the overriding theme as MIREILLE tries to hide her prostitution from her daughter and others.

Her daughter is now in a Swiss school and her story becomes even more complicated by her older friend Nora.   An incredible sub story of mental illness and child abuse by more wealthy men

There was a redundancy to the writing, which made me so happy to finally reach the happier ending and the revealing of the hidden story.  I thought this book could have been made better 150 pages edited out.   I give a warning that if one is not into ugly sex and abuse, this book might not be the one for the beach this summer for you.  I do know that some of my readers really enjoy this kind of romance so I will not be too negative here.

About the author:

Molly Cochran is the author of more than twenty novels and nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestseller Grandmaster, The Forever King, The Broken Sword, and The Temple Dogs, all co-written with Warren Murphy. She is also the author of The Third Magic, and she co-wrote the nonfiction bestseller Dressing Thin with Dale Goday. Cochran has received numerous awards, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Romance Writers of America’s “Best Thriller” award, and an “Outstanding” classification by the New York Public Library. Recently she published a series of young adult novels, Legacy, Poison, and Seduction, and two novellas, Wishes and Revels. Legacy won a 2013 Westchester Fiction Award.

Visit Molly at her website, mollycochran.com.

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