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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

FIXED IN FEAR: A Justice Novel (#5) ~T.E. Woods

Monday, December 21st, 2015

I have never been a great fan of murder mysteries, although in the last 5 years I have read and reviewed a great many of them.  I know that quite a few of my readers like them very much and I am amazed at how many of my older followers enjoy them to the max.  Along came T.E. Woods’s series of mysteries and I just can hardly wait to dive into each one that comes my way.  FIXED IN FEAR came my way via Net Galley and I am delighted to say there is at least one more in the series to come.  We are left with quite a cliffhanger of an ending with this one.

FIXED IN FEAR continues the story of Matt Grant and his role as Chief Homicide Detective for the Seattle Police Department.  It begins at a healing sweat lodge in Washington State inside 5 people have been killed and then the lodge was set on fire.    Detective Grant teams up with a small community Police Chief who needs some assistance in solving this crime.  This book pulls together some old murders that have never been solved and of course the psychological thinking that has affected the lives of so many people over the years.

Dr. Lydia Corriger, a psychologist working in Olympia has figured out a most wanted person’s current identity and gotten a murder victim’s wife the return on her stolen funds and Lydia now moves her computer skills and wisdom towards helping Grant solve yet another case and figure out his daughter’s complicity.

The story moves right along and I love the psychological dialogue, which attends the story and the thinking of the characters.   How are we to grasp a hold on life and yet still sort out the harsher realities?   How do we move on from a death in the family and live our lives fully and with meaning?  How do we see and understand the truth of our own situation?   How does a family cope with the reality that faces them and the pain that might attend each action or murder?  Gritty questions which are present and stoke the fires of each novel at quite a fast pace.

“Has Allie gone too far?”  You are invited to comment on her Facebook page.

T.E. Woods is a clinical psychologist and author living in Madison, Wisconsin.  For random insight into how her strange mind works, follow her at: tewoodswrites.com or Facebook.com/TEWoodsWrites

Related:
The Fixer
The Red Hot Fix
The Unforgivable Fix
Fixed in Blood

FIXED IN BLOOD: A Justice Novel ~T.E.Woods

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

I could hardly wait to get a copy FIXED IN BLOOD and read it from cover to cover.  The fourth book in the justice series by Woods, I have reviewed each of the others and enjoyed each one.   Each book left me wanting to read more of Woods’ stories.

Alibi sent me an uncorrected advanced copy of the book for review on my blog and it arrived with perfect timing.   I was excited to open the copy and dive into this exciting read.

Dr. Lydia Corriger is a psychologist who works on the west coast of the USA and helps the homicide detective Mort Grant, of Seattle PD, profile the killers he is tracking down.  She is very pro-female needs and agendas; working to make the world a safer place for children, particularly those in foster care.  Her positive energy and understanding do create a positive energy for females and indicates someone is looking out for women and other victims.

Mort Grant is a fine detective, who has lost his wife to cancer and his daughter to dangerous adventure.  His son writes books about his father’s work and interesting cases.  The characters make for an interesting study of humans and their working efforts; they are very real and believable.

That the books take place in my neck of the woods is also very motivating.  They include details which actually happened in my part of the country and that have motivated some very big changes in our local justice system.   I like the details that are included from our area.  I am sure I know which building in town is Dr. Corriger’s office and where her favorite coffee shop is located.

The books are well written and a fast read for me and although the subject matter is not so easy to handle, the story lines are good and the hope of good resolution is satisfying.   We are on the I-5 drug smuggling corridor and that is very apparent in these stories, though I am not so sure about the Russian Mafia being so heavily involved.  This idea is very possible.

At the end of the book it says: “T. E.  Woods is a clinical psychologist and author living in Madison, Wisconsin.  For random insight into how her strange mind works, follow her: tewoodswrites.com, Facebook.com/TEWoodsWrites;  @tewooodswrites“

Related Reading:
The Fixer
The Red Hot Fix 
The Unforgivable Fix 

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: A True Story ~Daniel James Brown (Narrated by Edward Herrman)

Monday, January 26th, 2015

“Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”

I highly recommend THE BOYS IN THE BOAT as a book the whole family – everyone you know will enjoy.  This interesting piece of history was recommended to me by a number of people and when I suggested it to my husband he stated that several folks had recommended it to him also.

We were set for a 14 hour 2 day car trip and decided to purchase THE BOYS IN THE BOAT from Audible.com so I could play it from my cellphone app. And we could turn it on and off quickly as needed.   As it turned out the reader was one of my favorite actors and he did a marvelous job and made us laugh several times as he created new sounds for the Native American names of several places and rivers!

This is the story of the Crew team from the University of Washington in Seattle, which won the Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  It is the story of a specific oarsman, Joe, who was still alive and was living in Sequim, Washington on his family farm.  Being on the crew team was the only way this young man could afford to study and become an engineer at University.  Some of the boys were from wealthier families, but several were extremely poor and counted on being fed by the crew team privileges also.  We know a great deal about each individual on the team, as the Coach insisted all keep journals.

The Coach just knew he had a team, which would create a world-class group of competitors and truly put the spotlight on the UW team for years to come.  And the team met that expectation and went on beyond their dreams and imaginations.  The Coach had some amazing rules about practice sessions, and his demanding discipline about grades and studies, and for correct behaviors.  He also had the most important shell (boat) builder working for his team and this fellow had won a great deal of respect in the Rowing community for his crewing experience and his exquisite craftsmanship.  He studied the team when they practiced, no matter the weather or the freezing, rough seas.

The individual stories of the team and coaches were very interesting and held one’s attention and Joe certainly had a tough story to follow as his mother died and his stepmother abandoned him along the way.  After her death, Joe ended up raising her children and caring for them.  All of Seattle rallied behind their amazing crew team, raised the funds for the US competitions back on the east coast and then for the Olympic expedition.  Listening to the story about the races, had us on the edge of our seats with anticipation and several times we just sat in the car to hear the conclusion of a chapter or a race.

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is a story about integrity and honest pursuit with big outcomes and finally a huge reward.   The training was rigorous and the coaching tough and productive.  The beautiful excerpts about building the boats graciously told.  Joe’s and the team member’s stories were tributes to teamwork and perseverance.   It was wonderful to figure out where each of the 9 spent their lives after the big race.  Brown is quite the storyteller and you will feel like you have been there rooting for the team in the crowd.

Official Website  (there is some official movie footage of the race)

About the Author:

“I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Diablo Valley College, the University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA. I taught writing at San Jose State University and Stanford before becoming a technical writer and editor. I now write narrative nonfiction books full time. My primary interest as a writer is in bringing compelling historical events to life as vividly and accurately as I can.
I live in the country outside of Seattle, Washington with my wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When I am not writing, I am likely to be birding, gardening, fly fishing, reading American history, or chasing bears away from the bee hives.” (from website)

Edward Herrman recently passed away from cancer.  He played the Grandfather on “Gilmore Girls” and many exceptional roles in his career.

This is a book you would want to recommend to your best friend.

Related:
A Snug Life Somewhere
Playing St. Barbara 
The Signature of All Things
Margaret Fuller 
Muckers