Tag Archives: family relationships

Book review: Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen (9780307955647) E-book

“Rocky Flats bills itself as one of the safest government facilities in the country…,  but “signs can lie”.   Kristen Iverson grew up in Arvarda, Colorado, near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, operated by Dow Chemical, which made plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs.  She had grown up hearing about deformed animals and people dying of cancer, but as most Rocky Flats employees and nearby neighborhoods thought, “the Government would tell us if something was wrong.” Scientific study reveals that radioactive waste can remain toxic for vast lengths of time.  For example, plutonomum-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.  Despite many attempts to expose Rocky Flats, it continued to poison people, places and things for 40+ years.  Ms. Iversen’s story details this travesty of justice along with her personal account of growing up with an alcoholic father, overally optimistic mother, siblings and pets near Rocky Flats.

This well-researched, heart-wrenching story is an eye opener and a must read for everyone who believes in democracy and who is tired of corruption with government and big corporations.  It is a coming of age story of a young girl, her family and thousands more in Colorado, kept in the dark about a death trap that is still simmering under the disguise of a public wildlife refuge for hiking and biking.

Please visit Kirsten Iversen’s web page at http://www.kristeniversen.com/ and please see the YouTube book trailer at

Thank you to Kristen Iversen, Crown Publishing Group and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this very important book.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Guest Post, Review and Giveaway: Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark

Welcome to my a blog!  I’m excited to present Lauren Clark, author of Dancing Naked in Dixie.

Biography:

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com and find even more information at: 

What is Dancing Naked in Dixie about?

It’s really a story about a career girl finding happiness, love, and her place in the world where she least expects it.

Here’s the summary:

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

How did you come up with the title?

I actually came up with the title before I wrote the story … not something that I recommend, but it worked for Julia and her journey. I knew that I wanted to write about Eufaula and the Pilgrimage, and thought that it would be best seen through the eyes of someone who’d never visited the area.

It began as an idea that Julia would discover a delectable Southern treat that would be so delicious it would make everyone want to “dance naked” … and the proceeds would save the city from having to allow a developer to build condominiums, but the more that I explored that premise, it seemed better as a secondary plot line. So, I handed off the baking duties to PD, and allowed Julia to crank up the “hissy fit” factor when she’s told she’s NOT going to Bali … she’s going to small-town Alabama.

 Who was your hardest character to write?

I think that Aubie was really difficult … she’s an emotionally-scarred woman who’s dealt with being “left behind” with no explanation by the love of her life. She’s become an alcoholic as a result of her heartbreak, but I didn’t want readers to feel sorry for her. Like Julia, Aubie is stronger than she believes she is — and has the opportunity to prove it at the end of the story.

Who is your favorite author and why?

 I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella. She makes me laugh out loud. I thought that her Poppy Montgomery character in “I’ve Got Your Number” was brilliantly-drawn and hilarious. I’m also equally awed and impressed by Jodi Picoult. She’s so smart and always does so much research to not only draw you into her story and characters, but teach readers something along the way. When “Lone Wolf” came out, I resisted reading the book for quite a few months. Wolves? Not my thing. I finally purchased it as an audio book and listened to it on a long car trip. Absolutely. Fascinating. And based on a real person.

What are your current projects?

I am researching for my next novel, The Pie Lab, which is a real restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. This story will follow a girl who’s gone off to a big city (like Atlanta or New York) and vows NEVER to come home. She’s forced to return to Greensboro, though, when her romantic relationship falls apart. Since she’s burned a lot of bridges, it will be interesting to see how she makes amends.  The Pie Lab, as a business, is a great concept, as it offers on-the-job training and the owners are very active in the community. Added bonus…the pies are delicious! The Pie Lab has been featured in Southern Living and The New York Times.

What is the one most important advice you would offer all aspiring writers?

Write a lot, read a lot. It’s Stephen King’s advice in On Writing, but it rings true for everyone who wants to be an author. It is my personal belief that every writer can continue to grow and learn–no matter how successful he or she is. I take courses, work with editors, swap ideas with other authors, read outside my own genre, and listen to experts talk about the publishing industry.

I recently attended a conference in Monroeville, Alabama (To Kill A Mockingbird) and was able to hear Fannie Flagg speak about her fascinating writing career and journey from almost-penniless New York City aspiring actress to a New York Times bestselling author. She was polite, articulate, and quite humble about her experiences. As an added bonus …. Harper Lee was there to see her accept the award she was receiving for excellence in literature as an established Alabama author.

Excerpt from the Book

The Best Butts in Alabama, the huge billboard above my head brags. A robust pink pig, dressed in blue overalls and a cowboy hat, winks down at me. Next to the hog’s turned up nose, royal blue letters read ‘Phil’s Bar-B-Q.’

Phil certainly knows how to make a first impression. As does Mother Nature.

The sunshine beats down on my shoulder through the window. Is it always this muggy in December? I swipe at my forehead with the back of my hand and do quick surveillance.

Where is the historic, elegant city I was promised in the letter? There is a normal-looking church across the street, a run-of-the-mill real estate business to my right, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall place called The Donut King, which seems to be doing ten times more business than the Winn-Dixie grocery store I just passed.

So far, all I see of Eufaula, Alabama is more in-your-face commercial than traveler chic. Of course, I’m not in the best frame of mind to become one with my surroundings.

After a lousy Thursday morning of sulking and a rushed packing job, I sent an RSVP with regrets for the fundraiser, gave away my tickets to the Met, left a voice mail for Andrew, and changed my ticket to an earlier departure.

Hours later, after fighting through JFK security, surviving the cramped flight to Atlanta, I spent the night in Buckhead, Georgia, picked up my enormous rented SUV this morning (it was either that or a red minivan), and began driving the three-and-a-half hours to reach my pinhole-on-a-map destination.

All to save my job.

My Review

As you can see from the excerpt above, this book is fun and Miss Julia Sullivan (world traveler)  is in for an eye-opening experience in Eufaula, Alabama.  The death of her mother and her rocky relationship with her father (who is now her boss) has made her harried and unorganized.  Will meeting Shug Jordan help her to focus on what is more important?  This story also has a mystery that is well played out and a little surprising.  And don’t forget the delicious recipe at the end for PD’s Pillow Pockets.  Yum!

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Click on the link below for more chances to WIN!!
http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/04/virtual-book-tour-dancing-naked-in.html

11 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews

Book review: The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson (0316159360)

This book is an epistolary novel which means it is written in letters.  The interesting part is that the letters are written by one person only.  You would think this would make it difficult to follow how the other characters are feeling, but Ms. Robinson does an excellent job of letting the reader know.

The main character, Olivia, is a down-and-out film producer who is told her sister, Maddie, has cancer.  The story centers around Olivia’s support for her sister (negotiating with her family or doctors on what is best for Maddie), her non-existent love life (should she or shouldn’t she), and to the difficult task of producing a film that has been done before (stand by her ideas or give in to the status quo).

I really enjoyed this story.  It is about hope and hopelessness.  It’s about strength and weakness.  It’s about love of family and love of oneself.  Even though the subject matter is serious, the prose is witty and stimulating.   A good summer read!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Book review: Momentary Mother by Lisa De Niscia (0615510221) Kindle book

image

This is an emotional story about a daughter that cannot do enough to please her neurotic mother. It’s a story about two sisters from two different worlds. It’s a story about a dysfunctional family.

I have read many stories about dysfunctional families, but I found this one to be lacking character development and a slow story line. I was hoping that the characters would grow, but it just wasn’t there.

Thank you to Ms. De Niscia for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Book review: Finding Frances by Janice M. Van Dyck (9780982614006)

Frances Baldwin is resigned to die.  She has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure and her quality of life is diminishing, but convincing her family to let her go is an uphill battle.  Her husband Bill is angry and in denial, her youngest son Randy doesn’t want any part of it, her daughter Sugar is confused at her mother’s decision and her eldest son, William, is supposed to be her ally in convincing everyone to let her die including her doctor.  There are bits of humor in the book and there is a lot about the ups and downs of family relationships and the tough decisions that had to be made.

Frances is a respected, very candid and stubborn matriarch of the Baldwin family and she gives insight on how it feels to be ready to die.  A very real look at a person’s right to choose.

This book is based on the author’s true events and shows how love of family brings everyone together at a crucial moment.   I could relate to this story by my own experience in losing my father.  He was stubborn, but never lost his sense of humor.  He wanted to go and no amount of pleading from his family would change his mind.  Blessedly, he went in his sleep.

Frances’ son, William, said it eloquently, “Love brings peace to the living and the dying; it tears down the walls of status and position, it transcends roles and past transgressions.”  The book is available at http://www.janicevandyck.com/

Thank you to Ms. Van Dyck and PR by the Book for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Book review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker (9780425238561)

“Hell was three generations of women living under the same roof.”

Joanie “Roxanne” Pilcher is a divorcee who has found out that her ex is going to be a daddy with the young woman he is living with and her new boss, Zoe, thinks she is a charity case.  From Joanie:  “What was worst of all to Joanie was that Zoe hadn’t seen anything special in her.  She had instead glommed on to Joanie as some kind of sad cliché.  A shopworn, middle-aged housewife whose husband had dumped her.  A feminist cause to be championed.  A little social experiment in doing good.”

Ivy Horton is a widow and a kleptomaniac who is forced to live with her daughter and granddaughter when she lost money during the recession.  From Ivy: “Depression.  Maybe it wasn’t a mental illness anymore.  It was what they now called old age.”

Caroline Pilcher is a teen who is misunderstood and angry at her parents for the mess they made of her life.  She also has a crush on a boy at school that doesn’t even know she exists…or does he?  From  Caroline:  “Yes, that was it.  B.J. saw right through [Caroline], knew she didn’t have any friends, had never been kissed, was a hopeless, flat-chested virgin who spent her whole life thinking, obsessing, dreaming about a good-looking guy who’d barely even noticed her, couldn’t have picked her out in a lineup of felons.”

All three women are lonely and trying to figure out how to cope with their lives and, unfortunately, don’t know how to communicate with each other.

This book is funny and sad and it was a quick read.  However, I was disappointed in the ending.  Maybe it was me, but I felt that it just stopped.  I wanted to know how they all  turned out after they discovered themselves and confronted those people that didn’t understand them.

Thank you to Ruth Pennebaker and PR by the Book for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Book Review: Who Do You Think You Are? by Alyse Myers (9781416543060)

1416543066.01._SX50_SCLZZZZZZZ_Alyse Myers’s memoir is very personal, brave and honest.

This memoir was mainly about Alyse Myers’ rocky relationship with her mother. The eldest of three girls, Alyse adored her father, but hated her mother. Alyse was her father’s favorite, but her mother’s jealousy and anger at the attention he paid to Alyse was something that Alyse would carry with her for the rest of her life.

It begins with her mother’s funeral when she remembers a secured wooden box that her mother kept in her bedroom closet. This is the only item in her mother’s apartment that she wants, but she is afraid what it contains and waits to open it 12 years later with her 15 year old daughter present.

Most of the book is a flashback to her years growing up in the 1960’s in a poor section of Queens, New York, when her father was frequently away on business and her mother stayed at home with the children.

I was caught up in this book from the very beginning and couldn’t put it down. The simple prose enlightens us that no family relationship is perfect and that everyone has their ups and downs. Alyse’s fight to find out who she is and to win her mother’s love is a true mark of perseverance and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews