Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Chair, Exploring Damages by Emma Jayne Gray

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Chair, Exploring The Damages,' by Emma Jayne Gray.

The Chair, Exploring the Damages by Emma Jayne Gray is a self-help work that gives you insight and ideas to help you become who you want to be.  Using the venue of the Chair, something so normal and easy to visualize she takes you into thought and ideas of change, using the shape and patterns of the chair as a point to help us to visualize how by changing the colors or patterns on the chair the changes emerge as we create that understanding.

She then ties in numerous other techniques and ideas, differing ways to change disappointment, or sadness, and a variety options to change the toxicity of hurt and anger, as well as depression as it tries to keep you from living a life more fulfilling.

Using the chair as a means of describing our ego or personality, she gives that solid item that is recognizable to all, but that is also different and changeable to reflect our own personal spaces. It is often difficult to move forward with depression, and while we can share the feeling, the thoughts are often confusing. No one else has the ability to see or feel the pain and insecurities inside us. Even if they were to understand, they cannot change what is within, only you are able to affect that change.

Gray takes some of her own experiences and gives us insight as to what she found works, and feels that each individual is capable of being more then what they are. She believes that if one can just turn on their internal light, that they will receive incredible rewards.  She discusses the de- dramatization and the use of perspective, using meditation, yoga and Tai Chi, as well as spirituality and physical movement and exercise. 

You will find this an interesting read, and even find some great ideas that would be instructive in numerous situations.

If you like self-help, and would like some ideas or direction to move forward, you would find this full of differing ideas. Self- help books seem all the rage these days, and I believe that Emma Jayne Gray has given us something just a bit different.

Rating 4/5

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Last Woman Standing, A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp by Thelma Adams

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Last Woman Standing,' A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp by Thelma Adams.

As America settled and people made their way to the west for the lure of gold and land available to begin new lives, some of those people began to make names for themselves.  In Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams, we meet the woman behind one of the most famous of men.  Josephine Marcus is an amazing woman, one that others either disliked intensely or wanted to emulate.

She did not come about marrying in the normal way; she is the cosseted daughter of Jewish immigrants but with a mind of her own. Running away with a friend, she met a lawman, one who has decided she is what he needs in his life. After returning home, she is enticed by the offer of marriage to this famous lawman, Johnny Behan.  Yet his schemes are nefarious as is his way with women, and as she leaves the shelter of her family, and moves to Arizona to get married, she finds she is just another of his women.

Angry and hurt she is much to humiliated to let her family know that they were right all along. Trying everything in her power, she attempts to solidify the relationship and move the marriage forward. Yet at the same time while waiting for this long awaited marriage, she finds herself drawn to another man.  Wyatt Earp is another strong young man and a colleague of Johnny’s. There is something about this man that draws her. Is it his intensity, or the way he looks at her? She tries to put him out of her mind and focus on what she is after and that is marriage to the man of her dreams.  Soon though she begins the see the real many behind her dream, he is not what she thought.  However, by now it no longer concerns her heart, as while her lawman played his games, her heart drew her to the only man for her.

This is the story of how Josephine Marcus became Mrs. Wyatt Earp and her own story of the life of Wyatt Earp and his brothers as she too helped to shape the history of the west.  She is amazing and her reminisces are strong and exciting, leaving you with that longing of having missed something very important.

Adams takes us into history with the unlikely vessel of a woman’s memories. She brings you a woman with flawed thinking, but brave and strong convictions. She wraps the history throughout the work and captures your imagination with the strength and bravado required of the time.  She gives us both the good and the bad, leaving you hurt and angry at the situations at times, but also helps you to understand the making of the legend of the Earp’s.

If you enjoy history and romance, danger and deceit, you will find this is a terrific book for your library. Learning more of the past through such a venue keeps you reading and searching to the very end. She has given us a strong and passionate story filled with historical facts, and you will find it hard to put this book down.

This would be a great book for a reading or discussion group, with a great deal of interest to them both.

Rating 5/5

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Pearl' A Novel by Deirdre Riordan Hall. 

In Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall, we follow the life and exploits of Pearl Jaeger, a young woman who is on her own and homeless at a time most are dreaming of their first prom. Pearl has grown up with the privilege of having a rock star as a mother, but JJ has become the product of her life. Drugs and poverty are more her mainstream and Pearl is not interested in following her path.  Angry and hurt Pearl has learned a lesson in trust. For her she has learned she has to look out for herself, and any happiness is only fleeting, for danger and drugs are always just around the corner.

When her Mother passes, her Uncle who has never had a good thing to say about her mom, becomes her guardian, he sends her to an elite boarding school. She is ready to shift her life and uses this challenge as a way to move forward.

Her sanity seems to come in the form of an art teacher who seems as messed up as she is, and when she has to face her own demons, she finds that what she thought was important isn’t  as simple as she imagined.

Through friendships at the school, especially one with a boy named Grant, she finds she has the tools to trust, but can she just rely on these new skills or will her future be forged by her mother’s past. Will Pearl be courageous, as she dreams of, or will the past catch up and take her back into the morass of drugs and failure?

Hall has given us a glimpse into the life that we sometimes hear of, and she gives us characters that are both flawed and human. JJ wants nothing more than to be famous again, yet she continues on a path that drags her further and further into pain. Pearl tries hard to hold her life together, but she too is being pulled into the spiral that draws her mother.  You find yourself rooting for Pearl as she searches for her own courage to beat the demons that destroyed her mother.

If you enjoy literary fiction with a depth of emotion and the creation of hope and courage you will find Pearl to be just the work.  This would be a great find for your library and a great summer read.

Book clubs or reading groups would find this a great find for their discussion groups as it will add a great deal of dialogue for their inspection.

Rating 3/5

Golden: Heart of Dread, Book 3 by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston

Posted first to blog Critics as Book Review: 'Golden: Heart of Dread, Book 3', The Exciting Conclusion by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston.

In Golden: Heart of Dread Book 3 by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston, we find ourselves back in the darkened world of Nat and Wes.  In the conclusion of the Heart of Dread trilogy, we find a bleakness that seems more insurmountable then all that has come before.

The bond Nat has with her dragon is draining daily, and the destruction of New Kandy leaves Wes close to death. In his attempt to find and save his sister from the cruelty he imagines her life, he actually sees just how strong her power of darkness has become and how it has molded her into a stranger, one who will use that power to destroy whoever gets in her way.

Seeking help from any direction, Wes accepts help from the mysterious voice calling out to him from the hidden Blue. Yet he and his crew find this help is not what they expected and that they are in a more perilous situation than they had been before.  Their only hope now lies in Nat, and her quest to find a new world to replace the broken one they are now living in.  

Will Nat survive the loss of her connection to her beloved dragon and can the love she has for Wes hold her to the task of seeing their world reborn.

The conclusion to the Heart of Dread Series is as exciting as the previous works that have led to the making of this new world.  The danger and excitement, as well as the quest to find the answers keep you enthralled, helping to push the characters forward. Yet De La Cruz manages to twist red herrings into the work at various times to keep you from thinking that you know how it will all end.

While this book will stand on its own, it will only bring you a few questions that will make you wonder. If you want the full thrill and detail of this great work, you will want to start where it all began, the making of an epic battle of the ages, and the distinction of varying shades of right and wrong.   

Frozen, and Stolen, Books 1 and 2 will bring you the story in its entirety and you will find the set would be a great fit your library.  This would be a great trilogy for your youngster, but make no mistake; it is also a powerful work for any fantasy fan.

Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston continue to create the stories of courage and friendships, ones that both you and your young adults will enjoy.

Rating 5/5

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard

Animals have a reputation for helping with depression and anxiety. In The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard, we meet an animal that is more than the norm, much more.
Meredith Macuso is very depressed. She has hidden away from the world since the death of her fiancĂ©. Her darkness leaves her unable to work. She is a successful writer, but even that is empty. Her sister Monica is annoying and constantly trying to mother her, and she struggles to keep her from intruding. Yet she knows she’s only acting out of love.
So when she ends up being left in charge of an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac, one who belonged to a client of her sister, she is frustrated. She has never wanted a dog and this dog apparently requires certain activities. He is a therapy dog, hence the name Prozac, and Meredith is not sure how to handle his high energy.
Gerard keeps you entertained with her fun and uplifting work involving a dog that is more than what he seems. Her characters are both sad and determined, but irascible in their own right. You could probably go into any independent living facilities and find many of the same characters out there. Prozac though steals the show with his divine grace and his stubborn decision to make things right.What she does not know though is that Prozac has an amazingly high IQ and a spiritual wisdom that guides him. He is now fixated on working his magic and bringing her back to life, and she has no say in his decision to move forward.
Nevertheless, even Prozac finds her a tough sell. He is determined though and uses his weekly visits to the Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility to bring her out of her darkness. The residents, suffering from losses of their own, help propel Meredith back into the land of the living. Is that possibly the outcome that Prozac had in mind all along?
If you enjoy stories of hope and fun, you will find this a enjoyable read. The Thing Is is a work for your library and one that will strike the fancy of dog lovers everywhere. There is charm and friendship throughout, just the thing to begin your summer.
Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her work has been awarded many literary prizes and has been published in magazines, journals, widely anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen writes and reviews books for Shelf Awareness. Kathleen's woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won "Best Romantic Fiction" at the New York Book Festival.

The Thing Is Book Summary:
Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog named Prozac who possesses supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?

Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and even love—along the way.

THE THING IS—a perfect read for fans of General Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Romantic Comedy
February 9, 2016
Red Adept

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