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THE INTERSECT: A Novel ~Brad Graber

Monday, November 14th, 2016

“When life veers off course, strangers find comfort and lasting connection”

There are so many issues discussed in this fine story it is hard to find a place to start. A couple decides to move out of the heavy, duty, frenetic life of San Francisco and relocate to Phoenix, Arizona.  Dave and Charlie form the foundational couple for the story, well! until they begin to have some troubles of their own.  One new job is crazy making stressful and the other new job is rolling along just fine.  Oh! But they found the perfect house and have remodeled it to their liking.

Daisy an older woman, vibrant and on her own, is in a car accident and has to have a hip replacement.  Her nephew Jack and his wife Enid have moved from Michigan to Arizona and Enid decides Daisy is dying and she starts  “handling her affairs”, which is a disaster.  Bonnie a physical therapist, gets Daisy back on her feet as they discover that Daisy has no place to go as she leaves the rehabilitation center.  The two have become fast friends.

“Anna, a gifted psychic who channels the dead, is concerned about her neighborhood.  She hires a handyman to install motion-detectors, unaware that Ernie has entered the United States illegally from Mexico as a child.  When Henry, a homeless gay teen, attempts to rob Anna, Ernie intervenes and melee ensues.  The police mistakenly arrest Ernie, leading to his deportation.” (cover)

We are just about right at the story line where the character’s lives are beginning to weave together and they are all making connections, which hold them fast into a new family framework.  It is not easy going and there are lots of turns and twists to this wonderful story.  Lots of restaurants are mentioned in the Phoenix area and these characters all eat lots of fine and tasty foods.  I got a bit of a hankering for popcorn during the read.

Larissa at Claire McKinney PR sent me a copy of this book for review – what a treat.

The story has quite an exciting ending and the author invites one to discover an extra chapter on his website

Brad Graber Website
Brad Graber Twitter: @jefbral
Brad Graber Facebook

About Brad Graber:

“Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As a healthcare administrator, Brad has held a number of positions living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago; West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit; and Mill Valley, a suburb of San Francisco. Brad currently resides in Phoenix with Jeffrey, his spouse of 26 years, and their dog Charlie. Brad volunteers with non-profit organizations, most recently with Duet, which provides support for seniors. He has in the past volunteered with OnenTen.org, which supports GLBTQ youth. THE INTERSECT is Brad’s first novel.” (From Claire McKinney PR)

“Exploring today’s hot-button issues of immigration, elder abuse, and teen homelessness, THE INTERSECT shows readers that strangers can make unexpected and lasting connections—even as they reveal the most vulnerable part of themselves.”

A most enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it as a great story, well written.

My favorite quote:  Page 251

“It’s what’s in your heart.  You’ll know by your reaction to others.  How you behave speaks volumes about who you are.  Determine if that’s the person you want to be, and then, if you don’t like what you’re feeling, make a change.  Every day we get to choose who we want to be.  When you find the response that feels best, you’ve found your true self.”

Related:
My Thinning Years
The Isolation Door
We’re All Damaged

NIGHT RINGING: A Memoir in Poetry ~ Laura Foley

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

I like to start my day with a poem.  I have an email subscription to a ‘poem a day’ site, which reliably sends something delightful to my inbox and I am introduced to many new writer’s words.  I have no expertise with poetry and did not study it much in school as I fell in love with the longer forms of storytelling.  This book arrived from TLC Book Tours in time to give me a full month of reading and re-reading and full on pleasure in the words.

This is the second book by Laura Foley; JOY STREET was the first.   I can only tell you whether I liked it or not – I really liked this book from cover to cover.

The Fast Course of a Relationship

Only last week, I brought her
a white magnolia snapped
from my front yard,
smelling like honey.

A country guest,
she accepted the blossom
with a kiss.  I find it today,
without a trace of fragrance.

“Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night Ringing, The Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.” (TLC )

There is an elegant simplicity to the words and phrases that centers the attention and sends a clear message.  The words get through and express what is needed and there are ups and downs with recovery and renewal.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and again and again.  I believe you will also.

Related:
Joy Street
Lust
Doll Gods

THE GOODBYE YEAR: A Novel ~Kaira Rouda

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Four families from a wealthy community in California are the focus of this story.  Each family has a senior in high school and they are starting that last year.  There are some funny scenes for sure in this book, but primarily it is about the frantic moments of thinking about the future and worrying about empty nest.

The voices are both from the children and the adults and some of the fears and concerns are just amazing to behold.  All of their lives are filled with extra meetings and college representatives and for some the cost of future training is so expensive – crisis.  One mother drives her son to be just like his older brother, as she worries about what she will do after her last child leaves home.  She begins drinking.  Dad becomes a voice of reason and opens the door for son number two to find his own passion.

The perfect mom realizes that she has made her daughter her best friend and made up for her husband’s huge travel schedule with this connection.  The daughter is feeling some pressure about being the “perfect” girl at school and working around her pre-acceptance to Harvard.   A strange boyfriend is part of the scene and of course Homecoming King to this Queen.

We have a family on a tight budget and they do not know how their child will afford college, and mom has the whole family on an incredibly rigid calendar schedule, which would knock anyone to the floor in protest and yet for half the book this family muddles forward.

The step mom well is just a selfish mess and yet daughter finds away to keep her caring for her father after she leaves for college!  Actually, all the support characters are fairly fun to read in this story and even the drug problems are an interesting encounter.

TLC Book Tours sent along this fun read and I enjoyed it very much.  THE GOODBYE YEAR has over 70 4-star reviews on Amazon.

“Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.” (TLC Book Tours)

Kaira Rouda Twitter
Kaira Rouda Facebook

Related:
Sing Them Home
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh
The Moon Sisters

THE EAGLE TREE: The Remarkable Story of A Boy and A Tree ~Ned Hayes

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

An environmental love story, takes place in my hometown, is a great voice for autism and potential.  Peter March Wong is a fourteen-year-old boy who loves to climb trees – at least 3 everyday.  He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about trees and he is a gifted scientist.

March and his mother have moved into a smaller house, because Dad has moved to Arizona.  This move is very unsettling to March and he needs to climb a tree, a very tall tree.  He does not follow the rules because he discovers an extremely tall, old tree in the distance, when he was up in the new neighbor’s tree.  He spent too long up in the tree and his mother is worried and concerned….everything is new and different…. March explodes into a screaming and hand flapping experience and the police arrive to take him to a hospital for observation.  Now March needs to learn new behaviors as he comes into adulthood and in order to stay with his mother.

The huge EAGLE TREE is also under attack, as a developer wants to clear-cut the area and put up houses and apartments right at that very spot.

“Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, THE EAGLE TREE eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.” (cover)

I so enjoyed the comments in the book that praised our wonderful schools and the commitment to assisting children to be their best.  March’s mother will not move to Arizona because there are no programs like here and no commitment to education for all.  Washington State has amazing schools.

I knew nothing about this book when TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review. I am so pleased to share this story with you.  It was a wonderful read; a hopeful read.

The Librarian I was working with last week said he had the book on his list and he was #15 for check out; he could hardly wait for his turn.

I want to share two cover quotes that I believe are significant in sharing this book with others:

“Every human experience is unique, but THE EAGLE TREE provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective.  The descriptions of climbing in EAGLE TREE get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism.  The experience of navigating a tree climb is described in detail with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

“A gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature.  The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism.  Credible, authentic, powerful.”  Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

I enjoyed every single page of this book and cheered for March’s growth, passion, and determination.  This book should be required reading at least for our whole city and will bring a sense of pride and button popping spirit for our community and our efforts in behalf of our natural resources.

From the cover:

“Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.  THE EAGLE TREE is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves.  Hayes lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and children.”

Ned Hayes Facebook
Ned Hayes Webpage

Related:
Temple Grandin
Integrity
When Women Were Birds