Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat

 

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A few weeks ago I came across a book on Goodreads titled A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat and knew right away I needed to read it. It’s a memoir written by Bernard Jan pertaining to the loss of his beloved cat Marcel. Bernard was very kind to offer some of his time to discuss his writing and some other questions I had about the book. You can see my Q&A with Bernard Jan below.

If you’d like to see my previous post including my review for the book, you can click HERE. 

Click the cover to add on Goodreads, or pick it up on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Kindle Unlimited members can read this for free!

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Continue reading “Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat”

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review

A World Without Color

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My Review

A World Without Color: A True Story of the Last Three Days with my Cat is a short memoir about one family’s experience of losing a beloved pet, a cat named Marcel. Bernard Jan lays out his experience with Marcel’s last 3 days of life as the emotions pour out of him on screen.

I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.

At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.

And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

At first, I wasn’t sure about the additional ending. I felt like the fact that it was a true story meant that it should end the way the real story did, but it was unique that the author included an alternative ending for those that wanted a different outcome.

The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give him a hug. This is that book…

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If you’re a Kindle Unlimited Member, you can read this for free! For everyone else it’s only $1.99 right now on Amazon.

Click HERE to grab a copy.

Continue reading “A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review”

Q&A with Cyndy Drew Etler – Author of The Dead Inside – A True Survivor’s Story About Her Experience with Straight, Inc.

 

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I recently read The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler and learned about Straight, Inc. for the first time. I’d never even heard of Straight and was quite shocked with Cyndy’s story. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world, until at the age of 14, when her mother decided to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. This institution was called Straight, Inc.

I was able to ask Cyndy some questions about her experience with Straight and have included them below for those interested.

In case you haven’t learned about Straight, I encourage you to view my original review which includes videos and more information for The Dead Inside HERE and also the Q&A with Christine Flannery, another Straight survivor HERE.

Cyndy’s new book We Can’t Be Friends will be available later this year. You can find information on that below.

 

Continue reading “Q&A with Cyndy Drew Etler – Author of The Dead Inside – A True Survivor’s Story About Her Experience with Straight, Inc.”

Fall to Pieces – A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness – by Mary Forsberg Weiland

 

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Fall to Pieces by Mary Forsberg Weiland is an insightful memoir about Mary and her struggle with mental illness, drug use, and her relationship with Scott Weiland, former singer of Stone Temple Pilots.

My entire life I’ve loved music and my teen years in the 90’s was where music became a necessity for everyday life as I experienced similar issues to what Mary had, although no where near as extreme. Stone Temple Pilots was one of my favorites and Scott remained a favorite singer of mine in STP, Velvet Revolver and even his solo albums. When he passed away in 2015 I was shocked. Another great artist was gone and the horrible comments and accusations about him as a person began. People would call him a junkie, loser, abuser, and careless to name few. These words from people who were obviously not fans and those who don’t understand addiction and mental disease. They also don’t know what Scott experienced in his life. After reading Scott’s book, I wanted to see what Mary had to say.

Firstly, this book has much more content than Scott’s Not Dead and Not for Sale. It won’t highlight everything about Scott, but covers Mary and Scott’s relationship from the beginning until their divorce. Mary starts by discussing her early family life and emancipation at 17 which leads into her modeling career. She talks about her struggle with addiction long before her relationship with Scott started.

Mary obviously loved Scott, but it seemed like their relationship was doomed from the beginning. Scott was heavy into drugs and Mary knew it. They both had issues from the past and despite their mental illnesses, they got married and had kids. Up and down and all around is the best way to describe their journey together. It’s sad at times and at one point Mary pulls a Bernadine from “Waiting to Exhale” on Scott’s wardrobe. There’s a lot here you’ll never know if you don’t read the book. It contains journal entries, photos, and a lot of personal information. I learned about friendships that Mary had with other models, actors and celebrities that I never knew about. Her bi-polar episodes did’t really appear until the last quarter of the book.

What’s sad is that Scott couldn’t straighten up despite Mary’s persistence. Obviously, it’s what she wanted for herself and the kids, but she had her own demons to deal with and it’s sad the kids don’t have their dad to grow up with. I suppose having kids in this relationship was a bad idea, but I love Mary’s “no regrets” attitude. His kids are teens themselves now.

I enjoyed the writing style and the story told in chronological order. It’s an easy fast paced read that’s written well. If you want to know more about Mary and Scott, read it. You won’t be sorry…

4-stars

 


 

 

Continue reading “Fall to Pieces – A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness – by Mary Forsberg Weiland”

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach

Lately, I’ve been reading a good amount of books regarding mental illness. In the past I’ve dealt with my own mental health issues, mainly after developing a thyroid disorder and after having children. It isn’t easy and in my opinion isn’t taken seriously enough. Many medical professionals are less than compassionate. Many times family members look at it as a weakness and feel that it’s crippling to their own lives as if the actual person with the disease chooses to be ill. The mentally effected person’s life stops, while everyone else expects to move on with their own. With that said, I had mixed feelings about this memoir and possibly because it’s one sided, from the caregivers perspective. Although, I personally have never been in Mark’s shoes and haven’t had to deal with a person with a disorder like Giulia is experiencing.

*This review may contain some mild spoilers*

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My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is a memoir written by a husband who is dealing with mental illness for the first time. Early in his marriage his wife suddenly develops a mental disorder originally diagnosed as Schizophrenia but later re-diagnosed as Bipolar. She spends about a month in a hospital while doctors try to figure out what’s wrong. During this time, her husband Mark is dealing with a range of emotions including sadness, confusion, anger and many more. As Giulia is started on medications, everything is up in the air and Mark is left to wonder what their future holds.

Parts of this memoir were hard to read, while others were heartwarming. You can feel the love that Mark has for Giulia, but as anger sets in, things begin to change for their relationship. He begins to resent her as time moves on from her first hospitalization. This is where I began to have some mixed feelings. There were events taking place in the relationship where they were falling away from each other and their relationship became uncertain. Was he giving up? It almost seemed as though Mark was becoming more distracted and couldn’t deal with it anymore. Again, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him, but it seemed like he just wasn’t understanding that the illness wasn’t Giulia’s fault. She had no way to stop it and she was very scared as well. With their mutual decision to have a child (Jona), things became more complicated and even with the overwhelming support of both wonderful families, which I thought was amazing, it wasn’t enough. Giulia would be dealing with a lifelong illness which could potentially affect everyone who loved her.

I thought the book was written very well. I was engrossed from cover to cover and I’m glad to have read it. I commend Mark for the courage to tell their story and the strength to hang on through all the ups and downs. I hope that as time moves on, Giulia’s illness will improve, and Mark and Giulia can enjoy their marriage and child.

4-stars

Continue reading “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach”

An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…

Bret Witter is an author of many books including 8 New York Times bestsellers including The Monument’s Men, Stronger (Jeff Bauman’s story), Dewey, Until Tuesday and more. He’s a full-time professional writer. Children recognize Bret Witter from reading about Dewey, the famous library cat in these popular children’s books.

 

Adult cat lovers can read about Dewey in these New York Times bestselling books…

 

I recently read Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me in, and Tuesday Takes Me There.

These stories are about Luis Carlos Montalván, an Iraq war veteran and his service dog Tuesday. To see my original reviews for Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me In and Tuesday Takes Me There, please click the links below.

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

I was lucky to get an interview with this author to ask him some questions about himself and a few about the book Until Tuesday. You can see the Q&A with the author below.

 

Continue reading “An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

I have two awesome recipes to share with you today along with two great books I’m reading this week. First, let’s get started on the breakfast!

It’s strawberry season and one of the reasons I love June so much! This will be a two part process because I’m showing you how I make my fresh homemade strawberry jam. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

9 cups of whole strawberries – Remove tops and rinse – Here’s my video of my favorite tool for topping strawberries! Watch how fast it works…

7 cups of sugar

2 packages fruit pectin ( I use two packages, but you can try one for a thinner jam)

4-5 pint size jars with lids and caps

Equipment: Canner with lid, jar lifter, cooling rack, canning funnel

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

Many of you have probably seen my previous post regarding Luis & Tuesday. I’ve now finished the last two books and will have my reviews posted below. I’ve been in contact with Lu Picard at ECAD and found out that every Tuesday, they post updates on their Facebook page regarding Tuesday and what he’s doing now. I was so excited to learn this and I have the link below for those that would like to take a look.

I feel like after reading these books that I’ve been on an adventure with Luis & Tuesday and don’t want it to end. All four of these books are beautiful and I hope that more people will read them. The children’s books are wonderful as well. If you’d like to see my previous posts on Until Tuesday and Tuesday Tucks Me In, you can click HERE. 

Tuesday’s Promise by Luis Carlos Montalván & Ellis Henican

31932889Tuesday’s promise is the final book written about Luis Montalván and his service dog, Tuesday. I recently read the previous book Until Tuesday. One nice thing about this book is that people who haven’t read Until Tuesday can go right into this one as he covers his story again for new readers. I didn’t mind the repetition at all and it never became boring to me.

I found this second book to be even more heartbreaking. I already knew the outcome beforehand, but there was so much more that happened with Luis from the last book until now. Luis, broken by war, became even more courageous and started traveling more and putting himself out there for others who needed him including the wounded, those suffering from PTSD, and others. As he healed even more, he wasn’t 100 percent, but he was changing and learning to live his life in the best way possible, even with the trials and tribulations of his mental illness and injuries. The most heartbreaking part of the book for me was chapter 22, thinking about aging Tuesday. Luis had said more than once that he would outlive Tuesday. Let’s face it, dogs don’t live as long as humans do. It seemed as if he was having a difficult time coping with the thoughts of losing Tuesday and I wonder if this was something he just couldn’t take.

“When it happens, it will feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out and handed to me. You’re never supposed to see your heart. It’s in your chest. Being handed your own heart is a thoroughly unnatural experience, so vulnerable. But it will be real, and nothing in the world can change it.”

I think about my own dogs who are considered family and the thought of losing them makes me very sad, even though I understand this is part of life. The thought of Luis losing Tuesday is almost unfathomable because Tuesday is the reason Luis was able to live again. He helped him heal and was his best friend for many years. You can feel the emotion and fear Luis is experiencing as the words pour out of him in the book.

As far as the writing and structure, the book is written well just like the first, the added photos were great, and I appreciated the afterward by Ellis Henican. It was, for the most part, told in chronological order this time. I loved the title, and readers will learn about the true meaning of the title as they read on in the book.

If you haven’t read about Luis & Tuesday yet, I suggest you read this book, or read them all. I can’t even express how much this story has touched me. I even enjoyed the children’s books. I’ve spent the last few weeks living and breathing Luis and Tuesday and they’ve been on my mind a lot. It’s a story I’ll never forget. I’m sad that the journey has ended, but I know that Luis is in a better place and I pray that he is at peace.

*Our veterans are important-they need our support, and these service dogs like Tuesday are integral in order for them to carry on with life.*

stars

 


Blurb

Luis and Tuesday are winning hearts again. With his captivating New York Times bestseller Until Tuesday, Iraq War veteran Luis Carlos Montalván furthered America’s conversation about the need to care for first responders suffering from the effects of PTSD, especially highlighting the near-miraculous benefit of service dog companionship.

Now, in this spectacular follow-up, Luis and Tuesday rescue a forgotten Tuskegee airman, battle obstinate VA bureaucrats and bring solace for troubled war heroes coast-to-coast. All this, while Luis’ personal battle intensifies; while Tuesday has helped him make immense mental strides, the chronic pain of his injuries threaten to leave him wheelchair-bound. In a grave decision, Luis opts to amputate his leg, and learn how to live with a prosthetic.

As Luis regains his athleticism, 10-year-old Tuesday enters new phase in life; due to his growing age he will soon need to retire. Together, these two friends begin the tender process of welcoming a new puppy into their pack. SINCE TUESDAY is an inspiring story with an unforgettable message about love, service, and teamwork.

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Continue reading “Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván”

Lessons from Grandpa #2

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about my grandfather and another lesson he taught me repeatedly when he was still here.

When I was a teen, my grandfather always told me,

“Love your father, he’s the only one you’re ever going to get.”

I heard it often, because I was upset about my father a lot. He’s an alcoholic and was consistently doing foolish things. My grandfather knew it, but because he was up in age, he began to forgive everyone for everything. Plus, there were so many things my grandfather didn’t know, things that he would never understand.

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Me with my brother and grandfather -1980 – My grandfather bought a vintage wire clock from a rummage sale and put this picture in it to cover the clock face. It hung on the wall into my adulthood.

Growing up, I was raised by my grandfather and he taught me everything he could. I would only visit my dad every other weekend (many of which were cancelled by him), and in all actuality was closer to my step-mom than him. My step-mom and I spent most of the weekend time together while my dad got wasted. There were plenty of times I didn’t belong with my dad when he was drunk-driving and many weekends I wished I would’ve just stayed home. It was hard for me and I didn’t understand why he wanted to do this to himself and to others. He would get violent and there were times when he hurt himself and others physically. As I got older, I understood why my mom couldn’t stay married to him, and also that if it weren’t for my father’s violence and stupidity, I would’ve had an older sister. My mom miscarried their first child related to his violence.

At one point in my childhood, my dad was in an institution for a few months. He’d gotten so wasted and decided he didn’t want to live anymore. He was listening to some really loud music and got it stuck in his head that he wanted to die. He started a fire in his house and tried to burn himself down with it. I don’t know who got there first, but there was considerable damage to the house and it needed many repairs. I know that my step-mother was fed up with him and she had issues of her own, including losing her young brother in an accident and an older brother in a separate truck accident. She wasn’t dealing with any of this well and began using drugs heavily. A few years later, she died from a drug overdose. Just before that, she sat me down along with my brother and told us that she was planning to divorce my dad, but that she would always love us. There were events like this that my grandfather didn’t know about and he didn’t know the pain my dad caused my step-mother or that she was using drugs. I don’t know if it would’ve changed his thoughts anyhow.  Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #2”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I’m excited to share Wednesday’s breakfast and reads with you all!

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This morning was a bit chilly and I really had a taste for oatmeal. I know, it sounds boring, but you might actually like this recipe! It’s quite good and a healthy start to your day.

I have to admit that the way I used to make this recipe isn’t the way I make it anymore. I’ve added the original ingredients below in parentheses.

Ingredients: Serves 3-4

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 cups almond milk (cow’s milk preferred in original recipe)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • TB of Brown Sugar
  • Original recipe calls for 1 TB of butter (omitted in my version)
  • Extra milk for serving

Directions:

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Add oats and milk to a pan with a dash of salt.

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Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes. The oats will start to thicken, so at this point add the raisins and simmer for a few more minutes. Stir a few times.

After simmering, I like to shut off the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The raisins will get nice and plump and the oats will be very creamy.

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Add your brown sugar to the bowl and butter if you’re using it.

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Stir it all up in your bowl and add more milk if desired. Sprinkle on your cinnamon and your good to go. It’s a fairly easy and healthy recipe! It does taste better with butter and cows milk, but without the dairy, it’s still delicious.

 


This week’s reads:

I finished Luke Narlee’s book The Appointment which I’ll review later today. I started two new books and so far I like them both. 

First, let’s start with Tuesday’s Promise. I reviewed two other books about Tuesday and Luis Carlos Montalván last week. I couldn’t wait to get Tuesday’s promise and I also picked up Tuesday Takes Me There which I’ll review later this week as well. Their story has really touched me and I’m so glad to have learned about these two. You can see my original post on those books HERE. Here’s the blurb on this one…

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Blurb: Luis and Tuesday are winning hearts again. With his captivating New York Times bestseller Until Tuesday, Iraq War veteran Luis Carlos Montalván furthered America’s conversation about the need to care for first responders suffering from the effects of PTSD, especially highlighting the near-miraculous benefit of service dog companionship.

Now, in this spectacular follow-up, Luis and Tuesday rescue a forgotten Tuskegee airman, battle obstinate VA bureaucrats and bring solace for troubled war heroes coast-to-coast. All this, while Luis’ personal battle intensifies; while Tuesday has helped him make immense mental strides, the chronic pain of his injuries threaten to leave him wheelchair-bound. In a grave decision, Luis opts to amputate his leg, and learn how to live with a prosthetic.

As Luis regains his athleticism, 10-year-old Tuesday enters new phase in life; due to his growing age he will soon need to retire. Together, these two friends begin the tender process of welcoming a new puppy into their pack. SINCE TUESDAY is an inspiring story with an unforgettable message about love, service, and teamwork.

I had no clue what was in store in this follow-up to Until Tuesday. I’m learning a lot more about both Tuesday and Luis and the book is even more heartbreaking than the first. I’ll review later this week. 

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery

I recently read a book by Cyndy Drew Etler titled, The Dead Inside. The book is about Cyndy’s experience with Straight, Inc. I’d never even heard of Straight until I read this book. You can see my original post on The Dead Inside which will soon contain a Q&A with the author and  you can also see the trailer for the documentary/movie on Straight by clicking HERE.

I found this story to be incredibly disturbing and as I began searching online, I found countless cases regarding kids who were abused in this program. These programs at one point were supported by members of government including Nancy Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

After my research I met Christine Flannery, a Cincinnati Straight Survivor who was in the program from 1984-1986. You can read her story on her website by clicking HERE. I was able to speak with Christine about her experience at Straight. You can learn more about Straight and see the Q&A with Christine Flannery below.

What is Straight, Inc?

Straight, Inc. (1976-1993) publicly claimed to rehabilitate teenage drug users by using tough love and Alcoholics Anonymous principles. Straight, Inc. provided NO professional counseling: Straight, Inc.’s “treatment model” relied exclusively on “positive peer pressure” from unprofessional staff (program graduates) and from the teenage clients. Straight, Inc. claimed to have an astronomically high success rate and was supported by both the Reagan and Bush administrations. However, Straight, Inc. did not publicly reveal what many survivors will tell you. imagesi34er5667777zer.jpgThe REAL Straight, Inc. was a facility that used coercive thought reform (aka mind control, brainwashing), public humiliation, sleep & food deprivation, extremely harsh confrontational tactics, kidnapping, isolation and emotional, mental, psychological, verbal and physical abuse to forcibly break us down then remold us in the Straight, Inc. image. Straight, Inc. also operated in secrecy, just like a cult (Straight, Inc. has been listed on at least 2 cult expert websites). No outsiders were ever permitted to know what really went on. Straight’s rules and our fear of harsh punishment prevented us from talking to outsiders or from reporting abuses.- From Christine’s website

Here’s a video that Christine put together regarding Straight, Inc.

As many as 50,000 kids were in the Straight program, Straight, Inc.  is the biggest violator of human rights and civil liberties that this country has ever seen.  There are accounts of food and sleep deprivation, making kids soil their pants, beatings, spitting in kids faces, and marathon sessions where teenagers would be yelled at by many other kids for long periods of time.  Children were forbidden from reading any material including religious books.  Conditions were so deplorable that kids had to be watched 24/7, even as they wiped themselves on the toilet (reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps where Jews were made to defecate publicly like cats and dogs) to make sure they did not commit suicide.   Under such deplorable and humiliating conditions many kids resorted to carving on their bodies with a fingernail, piece of broken chair, or whatever else they could find just as a caged animal gnarls at an open sore. –From the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network. 

Straight, Inc. was also renamed…

As Christine mentions on her website, Straight, Inc. became Kids Helping Kids, Pathway Family Center, Life, Growing Together, KIDS (of North Jersey, El Paso, etc.), SAFE, Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC), and others. Even though most of these spin offs have been shut down, there are still similar programs for troubled teens that follow the same tactics as Straight.

In this video below regarding KIDS, which is basically the same program renamed after Straight, you will see how teens that were once in the program themselves became the counselors working with kids that have been brought into the program. These kids themselves are considered the professional staff.

Here’s another one about SAFE, another renamed Straight program. The video is old, but worth watching…

-Part 2-

Continue reading to see the Q&A with Christine Flannery…

 

Continue reading “Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery”

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Last week I came across a children’s book titled, Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and a Service dog. I was intrigued as I’d never heard this story before. After reading it and falling in love with Tuesday, I had to learn more about him and his owner. I checked out the author’s page on Goodreads and saw that he co-wrote a few other books about Tuesday and couldn’t wait to read them. I just finished reading Until Tuesday and you can read both of my reviews for these books below.

18465502.jpgTuesday Tucks me In is a true story about a service dog and his owner, Luis. The story is told from Tuesday’s point of view as he explains their typical day together in NYC.

“Luis is a disabled veteran. He went to war, and he came back home in so much pain that he couldn’t live a normal life. So I do tasks for him. I even sleep with him which helps control his nightmares.”

Luis has issues like PTSD that cause him to have flashbacks. He doesn’t like crowds or being too close to people and Tuesday has the training to keep him calm and collected. He’s exceptionally smart and senses when Luis is having issues by feeling his heartbeat-he can tell when a panic attack is about to happen. They do everything together and are inseparable. They take care of each other and they even pray together.

I enjoyed the end note from Luis which explains more about service dogs and the organization that trains them. This book will help children understand roles that service dogs play as well as an understanding about people with disabilities. They will also gain insight into the sacrifices that people make for their country. I loved it.

stars


 


Until-Tuesday-Book-Cover.jpgI recently read Tuesday Tucks Me In which was the first time I’d heard about Luis and Tuesday. After seeing that he co-wrote more books on Tuesday, I couldn’t wait to read more. Until Tuesday was just the book I was looking for to to gain insight into the relationship he built with Tuesday, his service dog, while learning more about Luis and his experiences in the military and after.

The book begins with Tuesday and describes his training and first few years of his life before he met Luis. He started his training at just 3 days old and spent time in a prisoner puppy training program as well as ECAD. Tuesday made bonds with a few different people that he had to let go. This made him sensitive and he’d developed issues getting close with people.

Luis, a captain in the U.S. Army, had multiple tours in Iraq and received awards including two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Combat Action Badge. During the time he was stationed at a border crossing at Al-Waleed, he was injured after an attack by two men that left him with multiple injuries including a traumatic brain injury. After 17 years of service he finally came back to the U.S., and he had a hard time adapting to civilian life. He was suffering from PTSD, anxiety, flashbacks, you name it.

“This is especially true for PTSD. Most soldiers spend years denying they have it, or being told by loved ones it’s all in their heads. It is in their heads, but it’s a real wound nonetheless. Even if they accept the diagnosis, most veterans assume PTSD is temporary. I’m going to beat this, they say. In a year, I’ll be fine. Everyone knows you don’t grown back a leg that’s been blown off by an IED, but everyone assumes you can heal a brain that’s been scarred. You can’t. You can restore trust. You can reconnect with the world. You can live a full life. But the experience is with you forever.”

He also had a balance disorder that caused him to have horrible migraines as well as vertigo which resulted in easy falling. The trauma and violence of war were still upon him and the future was looking Grimm for Luis until he met a service dog by the name of Tuesday. Little did Luis know, Tuesday would help him live again.

I couldn’t wait for the weekend so I could read this book uninterrupted. I devoured it and it nearly tore my heart out. I was shocked at all Luis had been through and yet, he was still so courageous. He was relentless giving to his country and wanted to stay in Iraq where he felt he was needed. Once back in the U.S., even with the disabilities and troubles he experienced, he went on to obtain a masters degree. Not only that, he was involved in public speaking including appearances all over the place while dealing with grief, anger, anxiety, sorrow and a host of other emotions. I was amazed with his bravery and fell in love with the relationship between Luis and Tuesday. The work that Tuesday put in for Luis is remarkable. He never left his side. It was as if they were healing each other.

Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. It’s written well and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pictures in the back. It was nice to see Mary, Rick, Lu Picard (founder and director of ECAD where Tuesday was trained), and some of the pictures of Luis while in Iraq. Luis was someone willing to give everything he had for his country and sacrificed everything.  I’m glad that I read it and I’m reading Tuesday’s Promise next.

stars

I’m not sure why, but at around 72% of the book I decided to check out his author page again because it seemed like a fairly active page when I’d first looked at it. I wanted to see what he was doing now being that another book was just released in 2017. I happened to notice up at the top by his name that he had passed away in December 2016 at the age of 43. I was shocked and saddened and had to find out why. It turns out that he left Tuesday with some friends and committed suicide. He was found in his hotel room with drugs in his system. I just couldn’t get over the tragedy. I instantly thought of Tuesday. He had to let go of others before, but all I could think about was how bad this must’ve been for him and wonder how he’s doing now. I did read that Tuesday’s being cared for by loved ones.

Luis had Tuesday from 2008 to 2016, the majority of Tuesday’s life.  I pray that after all Luis endured, he is at peace and that Tuesday is able to find some happiness even with the loss of his best friend, Luis. Our veterans are important-they need our support and these service dogs are integral in order for them to carry on with life.

Continue reading “Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him”

Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve

Last January I came across this book on Netgalley titled Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve. It sounded interesting and compelling, so I had to read it. I’d never heard Diane’s story before reading the book. You can see my review below along with some information about the author Diane Reeve.

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Standing Strong by Diane Reeve had me captivated from beginning to end. The story is absolutely amazing, revealing, and well written.

I have to admit, I was so shocked as the story unraveled. It’s truly hard to believe that somebody could have the capabilities to be so destructive and cruel. Phillipe Padieu is that type of person. A monstrous person who simply cannot be trusted. What happens to Diane is a tragedy, but her courage prevails.

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Diane Reeve and Philippe Padieu

I admired that she explained statistics and helpful information in the book. Diane is unbelievably brave and now a prominent AIDS awareness advocate.

stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley, the author, and publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb

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Diane Reeve with her book Standing Strong

Diane Reeve found everything she was looking for in the handsome Frenchman Philippe Padieu. Deeply in love, they spent every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday together at his place or hers . . . that is, until she learned about his Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday women. Continue reading “Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve”

Run Rabbit Run by Barbara and Max Rodgers

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Run Rabbit Run is a memoir written by Barbara Rodgers and Max Rodgers. I picked up the eBook on Amazon for $3.99. You can find it by clicking here.

The story is true and discloses a slice of Barbara’s life that can only be described as turbulent. Her life begins with a dysfunctional family and progresses into bad relationships, divorce, greed, and uncontrollable mental illness. She has a beloved twin sister who she confides in until an unforeseen event rips the two apart. You can see Barbara and her sister Mary’s song below.

Lyrics:

It must have been cold there in my shadow,
To never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
While you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
So high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

_____________________

The story is emotional, raw and gritty at times. At one point I began wondering why Barbara was making some of the choices she was, but understand that mental illness works this way. It has the capability to control you and takes over your emotions. You start believing that you are worthless along with other horrible thoughts. It can feel impossible to be free from it.

light-1-a.jpgBarbara was dealing with some deep wounds and didn’t have much support, until Max came into the picture. Max was just the person for Barbara and understood her condition. Max’s perseverance helped Barbara to understand that she was loved and not alone. As life moves forward, Barbara begins to change and finally gains control over her mental illness.

It was obvious to me what Barbara was going through. I’ve gone through a similar experience, although not as extreme. It seems like there’s no one on your side and the future appears bleak. I feel that the authors did an excellent job telling their story and the book was written well. I personally liked the story even though it’s hard to apply the word ‘like’ with such an emotional read. I didn’t want to put the book down.

For those who are asking, I would most definitely consider this a Christian book. It’s a compelling story that I would recommend to others who are struggling with mental illness.

4-stars

Continue reading “Run Rabbit Run by Barbara and Max Rodgers”

Lessons from Grandpa #1

My grandfather was a very prominent figure in my life as I was growing up. He was a teacher, school principal, and father to five children. Everyday I learned something from him whether it be something I should eat, something I should do, how I should act, or how I should think. He always had something interesting to say.

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Me and GP just before my baptism

My grandfather was a serious conservative. He lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is, just put some duct tape on it!” I’m not even joking. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and witnessed how Toula’s father would put Windex on everything? Well, that’s my grandfather, except with him it was simply, “Put some duct tape on it.

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I remember one day he came home from the golf course and when he pulled up in the driveway, his car was missing the driver’s side mirror. I asked him what happened and he told me, “I think I sideswiped a truck.” I couldn’t believe it and I know that if he had that mirror in his hand, he’d be duct taping it back on.

Another repair was on his left boot. He had visited a doctor for hip pain and learned that one of his legs was longer than the other. He brainstormed about how he could fix the issue without having to wear a brace of some sort. He wound up making a platform for the bottom of his boot and duct taped it on. Voila! When the zipper broke on one of his other shoes, he taped that too. He would put duct tape on vacuum hoses, tools, shoes, furniture, and even books. He didn’t care what anyone thought either. When I was a kid I thought it was silly. Now that I’m older, I love that he was like that and wish that I could be more carefree about what people think.

The one duct taped object that I have from my grandfather is his Bible. He read his Bible every day. Once the binding started to break down, he fixed it so that he could use it for many years to come.  It’s a large print and fairly big Bible. Here’s a picture of it here with his tape repairs.

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Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #1”

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.

I picked up The Dead Inside from Netgalley a few months ago and it took me some time to get to it. I’m glad to have read it and you can see my review below. To see the Q&A with Cyndy Etler, please click HERE.

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler

My review

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This review may contain some spoilers…

The Dead Inside is a compelling memoir written by the author Cyndy Drew Etler. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world. She spends some of her time smoking weed and drinking alcohol with her friends, until she finally runs away from home because she just can’t take her family anymore, especially her step-dad, Jacque. There were things going on in that house that no child should ever have to succumb to. After making the decision to enter Foster Care, Cyndy finally has some peace. She’s able to still see her friends, have a safe environment and doesn’t have to deal with the turmoil from home. It’s not long after that, at the age of 14, her mother decides to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. Cyndy is told that she is under evaluation for three days and she’s counting down the minutes to when she can leave and she’ll do whatever it takes, including lying. Straight, Inc. will now be Cyndy’s home for 16 months.

The story itself is unbelievable. I had a very hard time reading parts of the book that describe the physical and mental abuse these kids are exposed to in this program. They are basically in this building with a load of other drug users who have been sent there for the same reason and are used against each other. I can’t believe that it went on for so long and these kids had to endure it. They were locked down and not allowed to have any interaction with the outside world for a very long time. It’s violent and almost seems like torture at times. As I continued reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Cyndy. Would she ever escape? Will her mother ever realize her and her husband are the majority of the problems here? Will Cyndy be able to endure this treatment without losing it and causing herself to be set back?

The book is written very well and it doesn’t sound like there are many details spared. I did wonder throughout the story just exactly how bad was Cyndy as a teen? It seemed like all of her problems were stemming from her treatment at home and the lack of love from her mother. I was very happy that there was an epilogue included in the back which explains these programs and how they were eventually shut down, but at the same time shocked at how, in a way, they worked. The kids were basically brainwashed.

This is not an easy read or for the faint of heart. It’s extremely revealing, raw and horrifying at times and I wanted to get up and do something about it. I wanted to help Cyndy. It’s no surprise that she ended up in the career she has chosen and I commend her for her bravery in taking a very negative human experience and turning it into a lifetime career in helping others.

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for sharing this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

4-stars


Blurb

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.” Continue reading “The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.”

Disaster Falls by Stéphane Gerson

I picked up Disaster Falls on Netgalley this past January. You can see my review below as well as some information about the author.

Blurb

29942511On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah’s Green River, Stéphane Gerson’s eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls. That same night, as darkness fell, Stéphane huddled in a tent with his wife, Alison, and their older son, Julian, trying to understand what seemed inconceivable. “It’s just the three of us now,” Alison said over the sounds of a light rain and, nearby, the rushing river. “We cannot do it alone. We have to stick together.”

Disaster Falls chronicles the aftermath of that day and their shared determination to stay true to Alison’s resolution. Gerson captures the different ways of grieving that threatened to isolate each of them in their post-Owen worlds and then, with beautiful specificity, shows how he and Alison preserved and reconfigured their marriage from within. Blending family history (including the “good death” of his father, which offers a very different perspective on mortality) and the natural history of the river, he provides an expansive, unflinching meditation on loss, our responsibilities toward our children, and the stories we tell ourselves in the wake of traumatic events.

Slowly, inexorably, Gerson writes his way back to Owen, straight to the singularity that cleaved his life into before and after, creating a portrait of grief iridescent in its fullness, and unexpectedly consoling.

My review

Disaster Falls is a tragic story about loss, grieving, and healing. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

I found myself crying throughout the book and the story felt so real to me. Everything they endured can be felt as the words feel as though they’re just pouring out of him. As a parent, I think the emotions are so strong because you put yourself in their shoes, and glimpse the agony and terror they live with.

I almost wished the story was told in chronological order, but it makes sense in the end.

3.5*** 3-stars

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.



Continue reading “Disaster Falls by Stéphane Gerson”

Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11th, 2001 Book Review & Poem

This book was given to me years ago by a family member and I’m happy to have it as part of my September 11th book collection. You can see my review below as well as a poem written by my son regarding the fireman who were lost that day.

My Review:

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Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 is a 192 page book containing hundreds of full color photographs in chronological order taken on September 11th, 2001, the days following the terrorist attacks, and the recovery efforts up until April 2002.

I think most people can remember exactly what they were doing the morning of September 11th, 2001, during the deadliest terrorist attacks in America. I can still remember watching television that morning and remember how helpless I felt. During this time police and fire personnel rushed to the scene of the attacks to save lives. Hundreds of fireman went up into the towers knowing that it was possible they’d never return. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed on this horrific day and this book captures the courage of those people who were willing to march into danger to save others.

The book is mainly comprised of photos taken by multiple members of the NYC Police Department and doesn’t contain much in the way of text past the photograph descriptions. This is by far one of the BEST photographic remembrance books which contains photographs from the morning of September 11th and beyond that hadn’t previously been published. I was personally touched by all the photographs of the medical personnel, fireman, workers, and police officers who stayed and spent day after day working with the recovery efforts. Some of these pictures are of the fireman who searched tirelessly for days in hopes of locating their fallen comrades.

Many of the most breathtaking photos were taken by an off duty detective by the name of Dave Fitzpatrick. That very morning, he boarded a helicopter after hearing about the first attack on the north tower and spent all day taking thousands of aerial photographs. Others took photos from the ground as they were engulfed in smoke, debris and dust.

This book is extremely emotional and reminds us that we must never forget this day. I’m very glad to have it as part of my September 11th book collection.

stars


Continue reading “Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11th, 2001 Book Review & Poem”

Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers by Scott Weiland with David Ritz

When I think of Stone Temple Pilots my most strongest feelings and memories go back to 1992 when they were just getting huge with the new band and I was bickering through my teen years. The album Core takes me back to summer of ’93 and 94′ when I could lay out on the beach of Lake Michigan without a care in the world listening to all my favorite music including STP, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and many more. I can still remember learning to play “Plush” for the very first time on my guitar. Those were the days…

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I personally gained interest in Scott Weiland in the very beginning with Stone Temple Pilot’s release of Core, their first album, in the early 1990’s.

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When Scott died in 2015, it hit me hard. Even though Scott was still making music and I enjoyed the album released in 2010, I longed for that thick and thunderous sound from Core and Purple. STP for me was and is a band that requires all members and would never be the same without Scott. Continue reading “Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers by Scott Weiland with David Ritz”

The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown

 

The Happiest Mommy You Know

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The Happiest Mommy You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown is a book about motherhood and putting yourself before your kids.

I’m going to start by saying that I nearly hated this book. It didn’t resonate with me at all. There were a few parts that I agreed with as far as eating healthy and getting exercise, but the majority of it was the author talking about taking exotic trips and vacations, having nights out with college friends, clothes shopping, and scheduling. I’m not a schedule freak and if I had to live like that I would be gone from a stress induced death.

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Putting my kids first has always made me happy and I’m just not the type of mom that doesn’t breastfeed my babies because I want sleep. I have never programmed a baby to sleep for 12 hours and I don’t want to. I think the author is missing a key fact-what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another.

I think this would be a good book for SOME moms. I don’t think the book is horrible as it did contain some health advice and it’s written well. I don’t want to be negative about the book, but it just didn’t work for me. It may be good for other moms.

Btw, I’m keeping my leggings and yoga pants…

2 stars

2-stars


Continue reading “The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown”

Everybody Loves Our Town – An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm

I’m going to admit right off the rip that I’ve been told I’m still living in the 90’s. I am, really. My teen years literally consisted of listening to music and playing in band. Grunge was and very much still is a large part of my life. So, when I recently discovered this book, I had to get it.

5

I think when many people hear the word “grunge” they instantly think of the four more popular 90’s bands including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Many don’t realize that it emerged before these “big four. “

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It started with Deep Six being released in 1986 and of course I didn’t discover these bands until years later when they became huge and I was a little older. There’s a lot to learn about in this book that was going on prior to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It starts in the 80’s and progresses up into 2011.

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I loved the oral history format the author used for this book. The way it’s written, you’re basically reading quotes from scads of different people including band members, producers, managers, photographers, roadies and more. You’ll learn about some of the stuff they did, places they went, relationships they had with each other, pain they endured from deaths, and more. There are pictures included, but I do wish there were more.

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How sad is it when listening to a favorite online “grunge hits of the 90’s” station, I’m reminded of the fact that the singers from the last four songs I’ve just heard are dead, and all from drugs. It’s very depressing, but at the same time I remind myself that grunge is not dead-at least not to me. I’ll be ninety and still listening to this stuff. Many of these bands went forward and continued to be successful including, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl from Nirvana), Candlebox, and Alice in Chains, even with Layne and Mike gone, they’re still making music.

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There are things you’ll never know about the grunge movement if you don’t read this book. Some of the artists I thought had it all together, really never did. Some never finished school, many performed drunk and high, barely hung on, died, and some fought like crazy. You had band members switching around to different groups. It’s just crazy. If you listen to grunge or have been a fan in the past, read this…

stars Continue reading “Everybody Loves Our Town – An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm”

Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak

From Goodreads: Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.

Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love? Continue reading “Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak”

Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love

 

From Goodreads: A multi-textual memoir chronicling the life of one of our most potent pop icons.

Groundbreaking rock musician. Award-winning actress. Perceptive songwriter and author. Mother. Wife of a rock god. Fashionista and trendsetter. Provocateur. In each and every one of these roles Courtney Love has demonstrated a wholehearted commitment to her art, and an intense drive and a lust for life that have made her a star and a celebrity icon—but have also led her into some unwise, uncharted, and even dangerous territory. Simultaneously candid and enigmatic, Love has a mordant wit and vivid intelligence matched in intensity only by the extraordinary life she has led, from a bleak early childhood through great fame and terrible heartbreak to the present day. By turns exhilarating and unsettling, this is a story told for the first time in Dirty Blonde. Continue reading “Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love”

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Blurb: 

A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.

Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys. Continue reading “A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston”

The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels

Blurb:

Thank heaven for New York City bartenders. They satisfy your boozy thirst in a strife filled life and a good one will listen to anything on your mind when no one else will. Our barman/narrator is one of the good ones. He’s been disposed under chins and elbows and cocktail napkins and ashtrays and spilled drinks for decades in New York City for countless drinkers willing to confess anything to a bar top. From one bar stool to another our barman’s raw and soulful voice delivers a metropolitan story of good times, struggle, regret and salvation – a story put together with well-known real life places, countless celebrity faces and amazing characters only found in New York City.

Continue reading “The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels”

The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel

The Sound of Silence” is a song by Simon & Garfunkel. It was written by Paul Simon over a period of several months in 1963 and 1964.

Lyrics

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I
“You do not know, silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the signs said
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence

What does the song mean to you?

When asked, Garfunkel stated that the song’s meaning was “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”

I’ve always loved this song, but perhaps the most powerful presentation was at the September 11th ten year memorial service. It seemed perfect.

You can see the video here:

Continue reading “The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel”

A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand

My Review:

A Really Big Lunch is different from any book I’ve read. Even though Harrison writes well and I found myself turning the pages rather than taking a break, the menu was most unusual and even seemed disgusting at times. I’m not into eating snake, but I still enjoyed reading about his food adventures.

Harrison’s belief is simple. Quality of life is more important that quantity and food is the ultimate pleasure.

Life’s short, so better start eating now!

Oh, and don’t forget the wine!

4-stars

Thanks to Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.


From Goodreads:  New York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison was one of this country’s most beloved writers, a muscular, brilliantly economic stylist with a salty wisdom. He also wrote some of the best essays on food around, earning praise as “the poet laureate of appetite” (Dallas Morning News). A Really Big Lunch, to be published on the one-year anniversary of Harrison’s death, collects many of his food pieces for the first time—and taps into his larger-than-life appetite with wit and verve.

Jim Harrison’s legendary gourmandise is on full display in A Really Big Lunch. From the titular New Yorker piece about a French lunch that went to thirty-seven courses, to pieces from Brick, Playboy, Kermit Lynch Newsletter, and more on the relationship between hunter and prey, or the obscure language of wine reviews, A Really Big Lunch is shot through with Harrison’s pointed aperçus and keen delight in the pleasures of the senses. And between the lines the pieces give glimpses of Harrison’s life over the last three decades. A Really Big Lunch is a literary delight that will satisfy every appetite. Continue reading “A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand”