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Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Issues’

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD: A Novel ~Kate Brandes

Monday, May 8th, 2017

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a mix of environmental issues and how small town land owners are coping with their reduced circumstances in Pennsylvania.  The tale is wrapped around two brothers who love the same woman and were abandoned by their mother.  I was hopeful about the story and about the premise.  The descriptions were good and one could feel the trauma that the town was experiencing clearly.

The gas company, ironically called Green Energy (What a fraud – like clean coal! Good choice by the author to point out another deception) and they are purchasing lease agreements to drill for gas, pay the landowners and also do fracking within each field.  With the loss of coal production in the area, the town’s people are desperate for income and futures, many sign up for lease agreements right away.  Then occurs an accident and bad weather.

One brother is trying to save his family orchard and his wife is adopting organic measures for her section of the trees.  They want their water to remain clean.  One brother is trying to sell the gas leases.  The boys’ mother, now an environmental lawyer is called upon to help folks understand and provide a solution and reconnect with her sons.  THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a warm, sweet story with a bundle of deceptions.  Maybe a good Midwest story but not a very promising educational story for those who have been working on the environment and Greening our world – too wishy, washy.

Several reviewers related the story to Barbara Kingslover’s PRODICAL SUMMER; I can only feel a slight connection.  Whereas SUMMER really did dig deeply into the community feelings and frustrations, it truly added the ballast of how to help minds change and move towards reconciliation of old beliefs, economic frustrations, and the work that needs doing to protect an environmental future that “wins” for everyone – especially the earth.   Then again maybe many readers will enjoy this story because of the “love” story and the infertility issues of the main couple?   Would the story be a helpful teacher towards the environmental issues? I just do not know.

A TLC Book Tours review book.  Definitely in the Women’s Fiction category, a good read – THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD

About the Author:

An environmental scientist with 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wild flowers.

Kate Brandes Facebook
Kate Brandes Web
Kate Brandes Twitter

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THE LAST GOOD PARADISE: A Novel ~Tatjana Soli

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

“Everyone encouraged one to ‘live the dream,’ but no one talked about how to pay for it.”   “He was learning the hard way that even divine cooking didn’t make one immune to being unloved.  Sadly, food wasn’t always enough.”  (Unproofed copy at 25% of Kindle reader)

Ever dream about living on an isolated island in the South Pacific?  THE LAST GOOD PARADISE is about that very concept of escaping to a remote island, having no fancy amenities handed to you and relaxing to a happiness of self-discovery.  Soli has put in more twists and turns than you can imagine including such amazing back stories of each of the characters that it is very difficult to put this book down.

I recommend this book to folks who like to read about how a character reaches their best potential and wants to ameliorate the back-story into the reality that is surfacing into the story now.  This is a study in responsibility and relationships between individuals and commitments and how they are going to play out their own happiness and future.  I found the writing compelling and the words kept me reading in the few draggy/ redundant moments; I was not actually on a sunny atoli in the South Pacific having nothing to do and gourmet food arriving on time!

THE LAST GOOD PARADISE introduces us to Ann and Richard a Los Angeles power couple that is attempting to become pregnant and about to open their own restaurant.   Ann is an attorney who has been making the money and saving for this big adventure of Richard’s when their plans become a train wreck and they hurriedly gather their savings and race out of L.A.   They travel lite, taking only a backpack and a tourist bag full of cash; and a brown one-piece bathing suit!

When they get to the remote resort, they meet Loren, a Frenchman, who won the resort in a poker game; he has chosen this remote lifestyle for his own.  A most interesting fellow, who has brought Titi, of the Royal family, and her childhood betrothed, Cooked to help him run the resort, reclaim their heritage, and become the owners upon Loren’s death.

Dex and Wende are aging rock star and his young muse, both are attempting to escape from the pressure of the public and move forward onto new pathways and adventures.  After 2 months of being isolated, the events on the island assist Dex in writing new songs for the band and Wende has found her own passion and not just being the muse and “hottie”.

There is an underlying environmental issue, which begs for some responsible re-action and recovery in that it has truly affected lives and the way of life,  also the whole problem of the  huge resorts for the wealthy including the theft of the land and lifestyle from the original people.

I have read all of Tatjana Soli’s novels and enjoyed them all.  This is the first one I have been sent for review.  I liked this story very much and think others would also as it required me to take a look at the choices I had made and my responsibilities over my life.  Was I a follower or a “wild-child”?

I think book groups would enjoy this read, as there is a lot to discuss.  I think a study guide would very much enhance this book.

About the author from the TLC Book Tour page:

“TATJANA SOLI is a novelist and short story writer. Her New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, was the winner of the James Tait Black Prize, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the LA Times Book Award. Her critically acclaimed second novel The Forgetting Tree was also a New York Times Notable book . Her stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Boulevard, and The Sun, and have been listed in Best American Short Stories. She lives with her husband in Southern California.”

Tatjana Soli Twitter

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US 

THE LAST CONCEPTION: a Novel ~Gabriel Constans

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

THE LAST CONCEPTION is about all the ways we conceive and add to our biological heritage. The story takes us through 34 year old Savarna’s journey to discover a partner, answer her family’s needs, continue the blood lines of an ancient Indian spiritualist’s and her family’s lineage, and tell them she is a Lesbian. The interesting part of Savarna’s life is that she is an embryologist and environmentalist and these aspects are a big part of the story.

Entering her life is Charlemagne (Charley) who helps Savarna think through the possibilities and undertake the risks necessary to evaluate her dilemma and find solutions. They transition into supportive partners, which allows Savarna to come out to her traditional parents who emigrated from India. When her mother has a heart attack the family begins to relax their standards and be open to Savarna producing a child which would preserve the family bloodline as Savarna is the only family member remaining who can conceive. There is a visit from Grandmother from Southern India, and Savarna also makes a trip to her Grandmother’s home.

So many of those personal discussions which people find hard to navigate are covered in this story and it becomes refreshing to discover what ideas may be conceived. Very interesting premise and worthy discussion found here.

I had a bit of trouble getting attached to the story and the “secret” seemed rather confusing. I had promised the author to stick with the story for review and the writing began to flow with fluency about a quarter of the way. It was an old story with some technological advantages and parents who were willing to embrace their children’s American lives. I enjoyed the read and thought there was realness to the conversations.

Gabriel Constans is an author, journalist, screenwriter and trauma counselor. Gabriel’s fiction includes Buddha’s Wife, Saint Catherine’s Baby, and Rwandan Folk Tales. Gabriel is closely associated with the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, The Ihangane Project (both In Rwanda), and Building for Generations (which works in Tanzania and Peru).

Gabriel Constans’ Website 
Gabriel Constans’ Blog
Gabriel Constans’ Facebook 

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THE SOWING: Book One of the Seeds Trilogy ~K. Makansi

Monday, December 9th, 2013


THE RESISTANCE HAS BEGUN

What an exciting read.  THE SOWING is an interesting study of a society which has survived and modified into a command center of academic achievement and a supplier of food for every citizen.  Okarians have survived years of Religious Wars and Famine and developed a culture which has a layered responsibility for each group all reaching towards the top of the hierarchy and the Capital City.  Each person has a place and an outcome; the genetically engineered food is all programed to match perfectly the person’s needs and future endeavors.  As in any society, there are those who do not agree with the lifestyle which is promoted and insured.

The Okarain Society is celebrating 100 years since the end of famine and the Directors have taken charge of the Sectors.  The food workers are supposed to be the most elevated within the society, but they are in reality bred to be laborers with about a 40 year life span.  The work is hard and takes place away from the Capital in small sectors/farms.   Where the wilds have begun to return, there are people who roam the outer areas as Nomads, there are Outsiders who seem to be able to disappear in Nature and then there is the Resistance.

The SOWING is the first book in a trilogy and it very much parallels what people are learning about seed control, food, disease, and pollution in our society.  This is the crucial backstory and it is quite interesting to explore how the Resistance is surviving and making their point.  There are earlier stories of people who have disappeared, been killed and have left the Sector’s cities for various reasons.  Scientists, Mathematicians, Chemists, Computer Engineers, Genetics researchers, and Dieticians, are all selected out of the groups and given great privilege at the Academy.  The story is chocked full of computer knowledge, cloaking devices, futuristic transportations, and knowledge bases and data raids.  How does one begin again and develop real food?

The SOWINGS authors are fascinating:  K. Makansi is a pen name consisting of Kristina Blank Makansi, Amira K. Makansi, and Elena K Makansi, who form a mother-daughter writing team with a wide variety of interests including food-justice issue and study.

THE REAPING is book 2 and is due out in 2014.   I can hardly wait as I found this to be an extremely interesting read and I enjoyed discovering the authors various passions played out in the futuristic story. I believe it is rather like Harry Potter as it is written to appeal to all ages. The bits of romance make it a young adult read. The premise and thinking in the book create a more detailed story line than say The Hunger Games.   THE SOWING has great appeal and relates well to some of the current concerns in our environment presently occurring.

The book is reasonably priced on KINDLE and for other e-readers. I know my daughters will enjoy reading this series very much.  I know 2 fellows in high school who would want to read this story and have a great discussion.

tlc logo This book was sent to me for review by TLC Online Books tours and Layla Dog Press of Saint Louis, MO.    It was a privilege to read this book and share my thoughts about THE SOWING.

The Seeds Trilogy on the Web
The Seeds Trilogy Blog
The Seeds Trilogy on Facebook

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s (giving away a free tote bag this season with all orders) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

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When Women Were Birds