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THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS: A Novel ~Jason Mott

Monday, August 24th, 2015

The story begins at an air show in a small rural town in North Carolina.  Ava, who is thirteen, and her friend Wash have climbed an old silo to watch the stunts and this is the exact spot where the airplane crashes.  Now that would make for an interesting beginning to any story but the author adds a twist which is recorded on cell phone video and goes viral.  Life makes a change, a huge change and the reader is right there, part of the experience, all the way.

Ava has pulled a steel rod out of Wash’s side, placed her hands on the wound and the flow of blood has stopped and the wound has healed.   The Sheriff, Ava’s father, rescues the children from the fallen building and the video goes viral on the Internet.  Ava is in a coma after the healing, Wash is studied and released from the hospital and thousands upon thousands of people wanting to see Ava descend on the small community.

Ava is tested and retested by doctors and others. Faith healers are wanting a piece of the action also.   Ava just wants to go home and be in her mountain refuge away from all the people.  Everyone wants something from her; something healed or cured.  Ava wonders if she could have saved her mother from dying with her gifts of healing.

The ‘invasion of the town chapters’ of this story are surrounded by lovely “interlude” chapters with the back-story and adventures and events shared by Ava and her mother.  This is definitely a story about being poor in the south – sacrifice and love.  Wash’s early years are shared also as his father re-appears after disappearing when they were all in a car accident, that killed his mother.  Wash has been living with his grandmother.  Both teens have lost their mothers and yet have relationships with their fathers, which are strained because of the viral healing video.

The treatment of the doctors/experts and the religious folks is quite interesting in this story.  The author plays with the reader’s expectations and the Southern experience.   The manipulations and explanations are very similar but one comes in a lab coat and the other in a fine suit of cloth.   Each experience of healing nearly kills Ava.  She is quite powerful and understands that her “gift” also is killing her.
Ava knows what she must do and the story holds right to the dramatic ending and the reader can sigh a relief.

TLC Booktours  sent me a Kindle copy of this story for review.  I enjoyed the book very much and would recommend it as a good read.  I would not have picked this book out for myself from the store shelf and I am happy that the tour sent THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS onto my reading list.

About Jason Mott

“JASON MOTT holds a BA in fiction and an MFA in poetry both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. In addition to the rare achievement of receiving starred reviews from all four of the top publishing industry magazines—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews—The Returned was named a “People Pick” by People magazine, and was featured in Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, among others.  Mott also appeared on numerous broadcast programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and Tell Me More, The Travis Smiley Show, the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Radio Show and many local television shows across the U.S. Mott lives in North Carolina. (from the TLC info page)”

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The Antigone Poems ~Marie Slaight (Illustrated by Terrence Tasker)

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

“I deem this a holy book – written in ecstasy and the madness of genius.” – Grace Cavalieri

I am in the grip of a striking pain in my spine and I think I can’t make one more minute of breath. Then I remember the story of Antigone, a Greek tragedy, and I am reminded I need to read a new book of poems.

THE ANTIGONE POEMS is a stunning book of art and words based on the Antigone tragedies. We are right there with the King, losing his entire family, and yet gaining wisdom. My pain breaths in and out with the concise brutality of the drama written in the words. Slaight has a mastery in writing of rebellion and anger and confusion, a revolution into incredible words. Each section is illustrated by Terrence Tasker’s drawings, masks really. So a Greek tragedy comes to life in new form. My pain is divided with each stanza into small molecules. Now appealing, I open and close the book to drop into the reading and the release of my physical pain.

This book is a keeper. I don’t imagine it as a gift and yet, for anyone working through pain or hard decisions, it certainly is a guide. I thank TLC book tours for having the authors send this beautiful tome in a timely manner. As I heal, I am keeping it by my side as reference – the breath heals, the words ameliorate the incision.

MARIE SLAIGHT (1954 – ) has worked in Montreal, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires as a writer, producer and performer for film, theatre and music. Her poetry has appeared in American Writing, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg, The Abiko Quarterly, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. Slaight is currently the director of Altaire Productions & Publications, a Sydney-based arts production company.

Terrence Tasker (1947 – 1992) was raised in rural western Canada and went on to become a self-taught artist and filmmaker. He co-founded and built the original Studio Altaire, a 90-seat theater and visual art gallery in 1980’s Montreal. He made a series of short films, worked as a set builder in theater and film and held various jobs in construction, mining, finance and industrial installations.

Related Reading:
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THE BOY WHO LOVED RAIN: A NOVEL ~Gerard Kelly

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

“They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.  They’re wrong.” (cover)

The Boy Who Loved Rain is a beautiful story about healing a child and the lengths a Mother will go to uncover the truth and free her teenage son from his distress and open the window to a better future for her child.

Fiona is going from crisis to crisis trying to help her son, Colum who as he turns 14 years is becoming anorexic and is loosing the ability to care.  He is attacking other children at school and has been suspended several times.  With the help of her childhood mentor, Miriam, Fiona gathers her son and they head to an isolated retreat on the Atlantic Ocean in France.  Fiona’s brother Mark, a journalist and artist, joins them and begins researching and revealing secrets.  Colum’s father is the charismatic leader of a church centered on a Theology of Positive Parenting in London.  He is no longer close to his son and lets Fiona figure out what to do.

The big discovery is that Colum has signed a letter of intent to commit suicide by the time he is 16 and this is being promoted by an internet site and his only friend succeeds in following through on the site’s recommendations.  The story is serious.

Each chapter begins with a fact or quote about the nature of RAIN. THE BOY WHO LOVED RAIN  contains a tremendous amount of symbolism and a great deal of detail about the nature of the weather and the symbolism of waves and ocean currants.  The story has quite a religious nature and historic connection to Catholic theology and women’s participation in religion within family and community.

Kelly writes with elegance and a poetic grace in THE BOY WHO LOVED RAIN.  I could certainly identify with the struggle of the boy and the stress of the family.  The beautiful writing softened the blow of the hard, hard moments and kept me reading every page.   It was not a fast read, it was a stay with it read; I would have lost so much if I had speed read this story.    Helping a child find the way and heal is always a powerful story; I liked that Colum’s story helped to heal another child also.

There was a great twist in the story, that made me laugh when I did not even anticipate its arrival.   There were descriptions of the wind and the cold, that were so vivid, I had to put on a sweater to continue.

Quite a read for those who like psychology, secrets and stories about healing.

Gerard Kelly’s bio on Amazon

“Gerard Kelly is a writer, speaker and poet and a co-founder, with his wife Chrissie, of The Bless Network. Bless works alongside churches in the UK, France, The Netherlands, Croatia and Spain, empowering young people ‘to encounter the God of mission and find their place in the mission of God’. A member of the ‘Theme Group’ of Spring Harvest, Europe’s largest Christian teaching event and formerly Pastor of Crossroads International Church in Amsterdam, Gerard currently lives in Normandy, France, where he and Chrissie are developing a centre for missional formation.”

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DOG CRAZY: A Novel of Love Lost and Found ~Meg Donohue

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

“Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, DOG CRAZY is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.”  (Book cover)

DOG CRAZY came my way via TLC BOOK TOURS for review and it was a delightful addition to a very busy week.  The uncorrected proof came in paperback form and just tucked into my carry bag for a week of medical appointments (“Growing Old is Not for Sissies”~ Jack Benny) and my husband even dove into it when he was the designated driver and water bottle handler.

Maggie Brennan is making big changes in her life by leaving her mom and dad who live in Philadelphia and moving to a new apartment in San Francisco; starting a Pet Bereavement Therapy Practice on her own.  The apartment is within her former roommate’s home so not everything is new.  Maggie’s mother is agoraphobic and has not left her house without heavy medication for nearly 30 years.   Maggie also has her trusty dog Toby to help her make the transition.

Maggie sets out in San Francisco to make the connections to start her practice and finds an animal rescue group who refers her first clients and she is able to do lots of volunteering for them on their website.  Apparently, Toby was only meant to assist with the move and the actual living this new life with Maggie was not on the list and he becomes ill and dies.  This causes major problems for Maggie and threatens to ruin this new opportunity.

Along comes a very “INTERESTING” young woman who believes her dog has been stolen and does not want any therapy for her missing dog, just assistance in walking SF to find him.  With Anya in need and with “the assistance of a poodle, a mutt, and Basset retriever named Seymour” the funny, poignant story begins to unfold creating healing.

This story had a gentle voice in the telling, and I would have loved to take this story and my own pooch to the beach to savor.  It so reminded me of the Women’s Magazines full of short stories that my mother loved to read in the late afternoon with a cup of tea.  This tail/tale is about 255 pages long and I could pick it up and put it down with out losing the story line or any of the dog identities.  It was an easy to read study of how we humans handle loss and fear and that everything changes with one step at a time.  Very entertaining – DOG CRAZY.

MEG DONOHUE is the USA TODAY bestselling author of HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE and ALL THE SUMMER GIRLS.  She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in Comparative literature from Dartmouth College.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, children, and dog.    (From Book cover)

Meg Donohue Facebook

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