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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

Related:
Flight Behavior
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Integrity

NOW EVERYONE WILL KNOW: A Memoir ~Maggie Kneip

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

“The Perfect Husband, His Shattering Secret; My Rediscovered Life”

McKinney PR, LLC (Larissa Ackerman | Claire McKinney PR, 41 Main Street Suite B, Chester, NJ 07930) sent me a copy of this book for review and it is quite the read about holding on to a secret for 20 years, denying a segment of a life and keeping a mythology alive.

“This is a book I just inhaled, I could not put it down… It will resonate with every woman who has something to hide – and that is most of us, myself included.” (Magee Hickey, News Reporter, WPIX-TV New York, cover)

Maggie Kneip was married to her dream husband and was the mother of 2 very young children when her husband collapsed and spent several years getting every cold that came along; having just one medical problem after the other. They finally got a diagnosis – AIDS.  When Kneip’s partner, before he was her partner, he had worked in Los Angeles and had explored the Gay lifestyle.  Now he was an editor at the Wall Street Journal and very highly respected and funny; giftedly bright.  He had tumors in his brain and an AIDS dementia, swollen legs, and a list of other problems.  Their son was less than a year old, and their 3-year-old daughter just could not understand.  He was dying and Maggie had to find a job and support her two children.

AIDS was a fairly unknown disease and the general population was very frightened, Maggie and the children were not carriers and did not have the disease, but they were discriminated against just the same because of the fear and the stigma.  The daughter shared about her Father at school and the other parents banded together to get her removed.  A conspiracy of silence began to keep the children safe from these attacks.  This silence left a big hole in the family until the family began sharing their story and Kneip began participating in creating awareness and support for other women on the AIDS journey. 20 years of silence.

It is a commanding read and quite an educational tool for informing and lessening the fear factor for others.

“Maggie Kneip was one of this country’s hidden women…who kept her husband’s deadly secret for more than two decades…Now she opens up for the first time in this stunning, beautifully written, and important book.”  (Joanne Lipman, journalist, editor, and co-author of Strings Attached – cover)

About the Author:

“Maggie Kneip is a veteran of the publishing industry, with more than two decades in publicity and marketing at Bertelsmann, Scholastic Inc., and Abrams Books.  She has performed as a singer at such Manhattan clubs as the Laurie Beechman Theatre and the Metropolitan Room.  Learn more about her at www.maggiekneip.com

Related:
Hidden Inheritance
Whistling Women
The Long Goodbye
The Bounce

MAN V. NATURE: Stories ~Diane Cook

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

“What I like most about these stories is that many of them are dispatches from the end of the world, and it turns out to be a surprisingly familiar place.” (Ira Glass, Host, This American Life – cover quote)

TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected proof copy of MAN V. NATURE for review and I want to recommend this book to my readers.

I read the first few pages of the first story and had to put the book down to answer the phone, I got really distracted with various activities and could not return to reading until the next day.  I could not stop thinking about the weird and wonderful first few pages of the book.  MAN V. NATURE caught my attention and held on tightly.  There was something different about the rhythm to the very tight writing style and yet it was fluid.  I read the above cover quote and this increased my interest, even though there were brutal forces (of Nature?) which were hard to wrap my imagination around.  An idea popped into my head, I put on the headphones and listened to a podcast of THIS AMERICAN LIFE.  Ah! The stories captured that timing and were not as scary and the emotions did not seep within me.  What remained were fascinating slices of a different reality.

“Diane Cook’s fiction has been published in HARPER’S Magazine, TIN HOUSE, ZOETROPE, and GUERNICA.  Her nonfiction has appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES magazine and on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, where she worked as a radio producer.  She earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow.  She lives in San Francisco, California” (cover)

Diane Cook LinkedIn
Diane Cook Twitter @theDMC
Diane Cook Facebook

What happens to human lives when Nature gives us the Wild and Wooly to comprehend and cope with even knowing at any moment there could be death defying consciences?  What if one’s own Nature sets the stage for unimaginable consequences? What are the boundaries when Nature sends a tidal wave and one must find control and parameters?  Lots of tension included in each of these diverse stories.

Story Titles:

  • Moving On
  • The Way the End of Days Should Be
  • Somebody’s Baby
  • Girl on Girl
  • MAN V. NATURE
  • Marrying Up
  • It’s Coming
  • Meteorologist Dave Santana
  • Flotsam
  • A Wanted Man
  • The Mast Year
  • The Not-Needed Forest

In my busy life, I am truly enjoying the short story realm very much.  I like the diverse subject areas and how they are played out in new shorts to intrigue the mind in unexplored directions and stimulate creative thinking. An interesting collection – MAN V.NATURE

Related:
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness
Incendiary Girls
The Sense of Touch
Our Love Could Light the World

HAVEN: The Apocalypse Chronicles Book 1 ~Laury Falter

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013


HAVEN is quite the read and I had a hard time putting the book down once I got started.  I did have to put it down and read it over several days and it gave me quite a few ideas to think about and ponder. This is about surviving after a horrid virus infects the planet with rapid body changes and massive destruction.  I feel as though I know what young people are worried about in their world.

That the adults in their lives are leaving these young adults, abandoning them, and creating messes (disease) that they cannot clean up or are not around to be responsible for their actions, and HAVEN is about the high school students who have the skill and knowledge to correct and heal the situation.  One parent has done his job and has trained his daughter to use her knowledge, be a top marksman, run, offer first aid, and has mastered survival skills.  Emotions, training, guns, and control are large issues in the story line.

It is a worldwide infestation and thank goodness the young male in the story is brighter and wiser about what needs to be done to overcome the immediate circumstances.  He is the handsome amazing hero.  Our female lead is no slouch either, as she can do it all and hit the mark.  Bull’s-eye!   We have a winning combination, with the researcher and jock right by their side.   I must not forget Mean Girl as she is charming in her own right, providing diversity and other critical skills to the mix.

In HAVEN the crew is safe inside their high school for 74 days and we learn about what one needs to survive a virus.   There are lots of tense moments and good discussions.  I should mention that the school cafeteria lady is one smart cookie and leaves the 5 survivors plenty to eat, solar cooking, and they create gourmet meals from her ordered pantry.

Our book is the first in a three part series and the cliff hanger dilemma at the end makes the reader thrilled that book II will be released on January 18th 2014!

HAVEN has a good writing style, although I did not need to look up any words, and the explanations teach well about safety, security and problem-solving. Although the narrator is the female hero of the story, I think fellows would enjoy this book very much.

Reading is important for brain development and I think this book is interesting and inspiring.  Get it on your gift list, share this review with others you know would enjoy this book, or donate a copy to a school library – HAVEN.

tlc logo TLC online book tours sent me a copy of HAVEN to review and the author sent me a personal message on the front page of the book.  Aren’t I lucky? I think so!

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.

Laury Falter’s website
Laury Falter’s Facebook

Related Reading:
The Stranger You Know 
The Best of Daughters
The Fault In Our Stars
Songs of Willow Frost