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THE VINEYARD: A Novel ~Michael Hurley

Monday, November 24th, 2014

“Dory was rich.  Stunningly rich. Although she thought of herself as someone just like everyone else, there was no one quite like Dory.  She lived her life as though everything were possible.” (Page 9)

“Michael Hurley holds a degree in English Education from the University of Maryland and a law degree from St. Louis University.  He is admitted to the bar in Texas and North Carolina.   His debut novel The Prodigal (2013) won the Chanticleer Grand Prize and was shortlisted for several other literary awards. After more than thirty years in trial practice, Michael retried in 2014 to write, sail, and pursue the secret of life fulltime.  He lives near Charleston, South Carolina, and keeps up with readers at www.mchurley.com “ (from the inside cover)

From the jacket:

“Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  As they come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher, known only as ‘the fisherman,’ threatens to change everything they believe about their worlds – and each other.”
“…a complex and ambitious, allegorical tale of old money, young passion and ancient mystery in a classic New England seaside village.”

I truly enjoy reading this romantic story / almost saga (can 3 months of summer be a saga?) and the problems the characters endure and muddle through.   This story was so well written it was just a get lost and enjoy the flow of the words on each page.  The premise was interesting too and I always love sailing stories, including water details, islands and the private culture developed by the isolation.  I had one day to read the 375 pages and then I was off to enjoy the beach myself.  The Biblical allegory was a bit blatant for my taste, but then I think many people do not know the stories these days so maybe that will not bother other readers.  I definitely felt I was relating to the Southern Christian experience and it made me laugh a couple of times in remembrance of my experience of these religious notions and how the people I encountered were not even aware that their deep down thinking was not very Global in its capacity – they often chock it up to superiority when it is a mask for fear.

The three women in the story were a hoot to read about until I watched what was going on in our country during this last election cycle.  The characters had a realness which was frightening and insulting and made me think about the 1% boys and girls who will be in control of the country – inherited wealth and no Global thinking.  Although Dory was caring and loving towards her friends, in personal crisis she was downright scary; this is a person in control and setting the standards?  In crisis she was an airhead and queen of the bling, who was very kind and generous to her friends.   Women as sexy manipulators – whew we are stuck in the religious mold again – let’s all go shopping;  I sent my pup jumping off my lap as I burst into a knee slapping happy dance!

The Ivy League produces three more who are really cupcakes to tradition and unable to see the big picture and in reality just want the same old same old of the wealthy cults.  A few clever moments thrown in to balance the boat and keep the keel balanced.  I just relaxed and let go of my cares.

Fabulous escape reading and I am sure the ‘30 some things’ of the world will make this a best seller.  That has left a rather bitter aftertaste in my sphere; we don’t know what we don’t know!

TLC Book Tours  – I enjoyed this read I think I would have liked the family saga about the timber industry in the Northwest a bit better – location, location, location.  Oh how the young are blinded by money and create a strange reality.

A Breast Cancer Alphabet 
The Hourglass
Accidents of Marriage

A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET: Inspiration and Encouragement ~ Mudhulika Sikka

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Purchase this book and tuck it into the purse of the next person you meet who has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  You will not regret this, I promise you!

If I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer I would purchase this book and download it to my phone e-reader so that I could carry it with me through all the days of my healing and recovery.   When I did have Ovarian Cancer, I did not have an e-reader, but I carried a Book of Days with me everywhere I went and read and re-read to address the issues, to drive my healing work and to write in my journal.   A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET is specifically for BC patients.

Madhulika Sikka was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when she was producing a segment for NPR’s Morning Edition and her team had just interviewed President Obama.  When the diagnosis call arrived, she did not go directly to the Internet instead she told the two science writers in her office and they took on an advocacy role for her.

A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET reminds me that when one is seriously ill, one needs an advocate, who will listen and help interpret and assist in the healing / recovery with you – no exceptions to this rule.

On the cover Cokie Roberts says:

“This useful and often amusing little book should be the first present your give someone who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Its practicality extends from sound advice (‘drugs are your friends’) to the inclusion of pages for notes at the end.  By presenting her own experience in a wry and matter-of-fact manner, Madhulika Sikka removes taboos in talking about sex or looks or the desire on some days to just quit soldiering on through the whole deal.  It won’t make having breast cancer easier, but it will make the dread disease and its treatments less mysterious.  That’s a gift indeed.”   (Roberts – Journalist and author of WE ARE OUR MOTHER”S DAUGHTERS)

Madhulika Sikka is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. She has worked at NPR News and ABC News, among other outlets.

Madhulika Sikka Twitter

TLC BOOK TOURS  sent me a copy for review of A BREAST CANCER ALPHABET and I want to share this gem with all my readers.

When Women Were Birds 
My Stroke of Insight
Your Medical Mind