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THE RAVEN ROOM: A Trilogy Mystery (Book 1) ~Ana Medeiros

Monday, November 16th, 2015

“Anything you can imagine. Everything you crave.”

“The Raven Room will have everything you could possibly want and more.” (The San Francisco Book Review – cover)<‘blockquote>

You need to be in Chicago to find the RAVEN ROOM finely tuned into Chinatown and the underground levels under traditional storefronts.  It is a Sex Club and offers its membership every delight they could possibly imagine and now there is a murder involved with the club; the press and police would like access.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I have mixed emotions about this request.  I was only offered Book One, which has a very unsettling ending and no book two or three in the offering.  The book is very well written and finds a hold on the reader very quickly and the sex keeps coming full throttle and does not let up page after page after page.   The characters are well developed and disturbing at times and have numerous psychological attributes, which can be overwhelming.  Even though I would rather not know about this kind of club and it’s activities the story is believable.

Meredith is a young journalism student and has discovered an older fellow who arouses many new feelings in her.  She wants to write an expose’ about THE RAVEN ROOM club and Julian is her point of entry member.  Julian is self-destructive, because of his abandonment as a child and his trials within the foster care system, and yet he is working on healing himself and has developed a fine reputation as a child psychologist and caregiver.  Meredith wants to keep him from self-destruction and yet will she be pulled into his controlling side life situations?

The book is about sexual deviations and I know I should not feel like there was too much sex, but I did feel there was just too much.  A loving encounter would turn into beatings and cutting and choking….  I just had to set the book aside and go do something else.  The who-done-it part of the story was wonderful and the development of the backstories was very good and kept me proceeding until the very rude, abrupt last page.  Yikes!  I kept trying to figure out where the story was headed and could not get it out of my mind.

I would offer a warning for those who are not wanting to read about such violence and so much sex – The RAVEN ROOM has it all and will take the purchase of 3 books to get the whole story.

About the Author

“Before THE RAVEN ROOM there was Paris, books, coffee, chocolate and zombies. Ana Medeiros lives in Toronto, Canada, with her boyfriend and two cats. THE RAVEN ROOM is her first novel.” (From Amazon’s page)

“Readers who enjoy complex stories with strong characterization and psychological depth will find The Raven Room a satisfyingly story of emotional turbulence…” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

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.”

Related:
Our Love Could Light the World
In The Garden of Stone
The Clover House
Little Island

THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century ~Claire Prentice

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

“Claire Prentice is an award-winning journalist whose work has been published in the Washington Post, the London Times, the Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC Online, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire.” (From the promotion materials of my uncorrected unproofed advance readers copy of this book)


The LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is about an historic event which occurred in 1904-1905.  It is a true story and the author has done considerable research and study to share the story of this event in our history.  It is about the journey of 51 members of the Igorrote tribes of the Philippines becoming one of the “Human Exhibits”   with the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’ Luna Park.   Millions of people, MILLIONS came to see the village the Igorrote people built, the dancing, the singing, the dog-eating feasts and the nearly nude head-hunters in the exhibit.  A great showman taught them to perform and entertain the public, so that the humans on the other side of the fence would throw coins and buy their trinkets and souvenirs.   They came to the USA and were told they would be paid $15 a month, could keep their souvenir money, they would assist their families back home when they returned in a year.

Dr. Truman Hunt transformed himself from doctor in the Philippines to one of the greatest showman, marketing aficionados, and con-men of all time.  His scheme and his sideshow troupe made Hunt a very rich man.   He ended up on the run with the tribe because of his huge lifestyle, the pursuit of ex-wives, his alcohol consumption and the dogged agents of the American justice system.   He hid the Igorrote in squalor and paraded them in other parks when he needed more funds.  Hunt cheated them out of all their promised money and  the US taxpayers finally had to foot the bill in order to get the tribe back home.

THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is well written and it makes history come alive  revealing the true story behind the experience and it is quite entertaining.  I know my history buffs will enjoy this storytelling adventure and relive the role of the amusement park heyday in our history.  As a well told story full of historic detail, I would give it 5 stars.

As a reader, I thought it was a terrific tale compassionately told and I, personally, would have enjoyed it more if it had been just a magazine article length.  It actually made me feel ill about the way these individuals were treated and that the pubic was so driven to observe the Igorrote people.  I tried to think of the troupe as entertainers, educators and then Hunt’s people would stride into the scene and exploit their efforts time and time again cheating and enslaving these people.   Of course, it doesn’t help that we are still stuck in this human trafficking mode as entertainment and abuse.  I was reading this story as young unarmed men are being murdered in the streets and we worship guns and violence. As voters are being cajoled by lies and untrue stories and our President is being belittled and disrespected loudly – all for money.  THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is a sordid reminder of how easily people can be controlled – and the con-artist wins.  In this century, it appears to me that our behavior is worse.  The entertainment needs to be bigger and more violent and our appetites grow.  Who are the savage dog-eaters?

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND for review.  The book will be available for purchase on October 14, 2014.  It would make quite the gift for your historic reader.

http://claireprentice.org/  

“At its heart, THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is a story that makes us question who is civilized and who is savage.”  (From the publicity pages in my uncorrected, unproofed advanced e-copy)

Related:
The Devil In the White City (Bikingarchitect.com)
The Riot Within 
We Have Met The Enemy
NEW Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change

DARING MY PASSAGES: a Memoir ~Gail Sheehy

Monday, September 29th, 2014

“’ The Change’ was not a curse that turned older women into victims; it was a freedom that allowed older women to stop trying so hard to please.” (p365)

“His study (Erik Erikson) found that men only moved on to the next period of development when they began working at a new task and built a new structure for their lives.” (p. 213)


In the 1970’s millions of readers celebrated Gail Sheehy’s amazing book PASSAGES.  She shared with us that adults keep growing, changing and developing and were not fixed beings unable to change.   Sheehy was a journalist and reporter, who did her homework and made her living writing primarily for magazines; she developed quite amazing ideas centered on questions that people were asking themselves as they worked through their lives.  As a single mother, with her own life challenges, Sheehy had a knack for discovering the important questions of the time.   DARING MY PASSAGES the author shares with us her wisdom and hindsight of how she experienced those passages and her own developments and changes.

Sheehy is the author of one of Oprah’s favorite quotes:  “You can have it all, just not at the same time.”

The book begins with Sheehy’s interesting childhood and her gutsy moves when swimming or taking the train by her very, young self into New York City from a sleepy town north.  Dad was driven but not happy and mom was becoming an alcoholic to cope.  Her mother had extremely limited options and Gail could see the problems clearly.  This set the stage for a driven perfectionism.  She always did her homework and more research than what was needed, questioning and writing, and she created a new form of journalistic interviewing techniques formed by these characteristics.

Sheehy married a medical student, Albert Sheehy, who was the father of her daughter, after putting her husband through school the marriage, was broken and she took on the role of single mom and breadwinner in a daring move. She had gotten a job with J.C.Penney and was helping Penney develop his human resources and build character and wholeness in his employees.  From there she began writing for the Herald Tribune and New York Magazine.  Her peers read like a who’s-who of journalistic name dropping: Eugenia Sheppard, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Betty Friedan,  Phil Spector, Ken Kesey, Andy Warhol, Saul Bellows, Gloria Steinem, Clay Felker, Dick Frost; the stories she shares about competition and bonding over all the questions young women were exploring in the 50s and 60s to the adult contemporary concerns were exciting to revisit.

I could not put this fascinating book down, it was important to me to revisit that experience and those heady times.

Oh, and the folks that she interviewed and wrote articles about are fascinating, well worth the read for the backstories.  Sheehy shares a great deal of gratitude to everyone in her life and from whom she learned so much.  I have read all of her books over the years and have gained from her perspective and voice.  I think this is a valuable read and a good perspective to take into our future.

From the Book Jacket:  “Fascinating and no-holds-barred, DARING MY PASSAGES is a testament to guts, resilience, and smarts, and offers a bold perspective on all of life’s passages.”

“GAIL SHEEHY is the author of sixteen books, including the classic New York Times bestseller PASSAGES, named one the of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress.  A multiple-award-winning literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to NEW YORK magazine and has been contributing editor to VANITY FAIR since 1984. A popular lecturer, Sheehy was named AARP’s ambassador of Caregiving in 2009.  She lives in NYC.”

www.gailsheehy.com
www.SheehyDaringProject.com
www.facebook.com/gailsheehy
Twitter @Gail_Sheehy.#DoYouDare
tlc logo TLC Online Book Tours   sent me a finished hardbound copy of this book to review and William Morrow publishing is offering a free copy for a great comment by October 10,2014 USA/Canada.

DARING MY PASSAGES is well worth the read and a comment.

Did you like Passages?  Do You like Memoir?   Did you lives through all these passages?

Related:
Transitions
The Signature of All Things
Daring Greatly
When Women Were Birds