Say Goodbye For Now

 

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The Goodreads blurb says:

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

My Comments:

Catherine Ryan Hyde has written over 30 novels including Pay it Forward which was made into a movie in 2000.Her latest book, Say Goodbye For Now is a touching story taking place from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. It starts out with Pete, a 12 year old boy finding what he thinks is an injured dog on the side of the road in a small Texas town. His good pal ditches him to go fishing so Pete, an honest, goodhearted soul decides to help the injured animal on his own. He runs into another young boy, Justin, who agrees to walk with him for a short while and after many miles he delivers the lame dog he calls Prince to a doctor, Dr. Lucy, who has since given up her human practice to take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. Dr. Lucy informs Pete that Prince is part wolf and is a wild animal that will need to be released once he heals but Pete is hopeful that will not be the case.

Some townspeople saw Pete walking to the Dr. with Justin and informed Pete’s dad. It is 1959 and whites fraternizing with blacks was looked down upon so Pete’s dad, a small minded, power hungry, single father on leave from work due to a back injury whipped his son and threatened him. And then Justin was violently beat up. Pete brought injured and bloody Justin to Dr. Lucy and Calvin, Justin’s concerned and loving dad arrived to make sure his boy was ok.

The connection between Lucy and Calvin was immediate and undeniable. Calvin was appreciative for the care Lucy was giving his son, but there was more to it.  Yet it was dangerous and against the law for them to be together. The people in the small town in Texas were not in favor of mixed race relationships and they went so far as to beat up Calvin and get him sent to jail.

Would the laws prevent Lucy and Calvin from ever having a chance to let their relationship grow? Who would take care of Justin when his dad was in jail? Could Pete go home back to his abusive father? Could Lucy open up her heart and her home to Pete, Justin and Calvin? What would happen when Prince was healed? If you love animals, friendship, forbidden love and what is right, you will be touched by this novel.

Say Goodbye For Now is set during a time where the laws prevented freedom. Loving vs Virginia is the actual civil rights decision of the US. Supreme Court that came about in 1967. It stated that previous laws prohibiting interracial marriage were invalid. So finally, approximately 8 years after Lucy and Calvin met, interracial relationships were declared legal.

The characters in Say Goodbye For Now show us that those who rescue others also need to be rescued. Caring, appreciative people with solid moral values have a good chance at finding happiness and seeing the good in the world while judgmental people with fears and prejudice may always be fighting to stay on top by beating others down. And, most of all, saying goodbye may not mean forever.  This emotional story pulled at my heartstrings and I read the second half through my tears.

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It’s Always the Husband

 

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Aubrey, Jenny and Kate are college roommates who come from very different backgrounds and instantly develop strong friendships. Kate is the bad girl who leads them to trouble and Jenny is the good girl who is always there to get them out of it. While in college, Aubrey loses her mother to cancer and feeling distraught, she proceeds to make some questionable decisions.   Jenny laments over a past relationship with Lucas but Lucas is getting caught up with Kate. There are some disagreements amongst the friends and a horrific tragedy occurs; things will never be the same again.

Fast forward 20 years and the three friends are all back in the same town. Aubrey is married to a cheating husband, Jenny is enjoying her power as the mayor and Kate is in a marriage of convenience. Then another unspeakable tragedy occurs and details from the past resurface causing questions to arise. Will the truth come out?

Murder, infidelity, bribery and corruption intertwined with love, friendship and loyalty keep this novel about college roommates and family relationships twisting and turning right up until the very last chapter. People lied.  People died.  Who is to blame? It’s Always the Husband is an engaging read that will keep you guessing!

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell will be available May 16, 2017.

Author Sally Hepworth

 

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The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth delves into the lives of a single mother, Alice and her teenage daughter, Zoe. As Alice’s life is threatened with cancer she has to make decisions regarding custody for Zoe. Up until now the two have made a go of it on their own with no friends or family to speak of as a backup so they have to rely on the help of Alice’s oncology nurse, Kate, and her social worker, Sonja.

Each of Sally Hepworth’s characters are rich with humanity, flaws and challenges and I felt hopeful that each of these great women characters would survive their personal struggles. Reading about social anxiety, abuse, rape, alcoholism, Crohn’s Disease, infertility and cancer provided insight on the real challenges each present and I took the emotional journeys with Alice as she loses ground with her health, Zoe as she learns tactics to fight anxiety and comes into her own as a teenager, Kate as she feels alone surrounded by family as she battles infertility and Sonja as she gains courage to stand up to her husband. The story is beautifully woven and I couldn’t put it down as I read through my tears.  The Mother’s Promise is available February 21, 2017.

 

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The Things We Keep is about Anna, a 38 year old woman with early Alzheimer’s disease.  Her family decides it would be best for her to live in an assisted living facility and while there under duress, she befriends the only other younger person in house, Luke.  Eve, the cook at Rosalind House, learns of Anna and Luke’s blossomed relationship but after an accident and the staff choosing to keep the two apart, Eve chooses to risk her employment by allow them to see each other.

This is a heartbreaking story of how people’s lives can be robbed by Alzheimer’s but there is also a hint of hope as we go on the journey of two people developing a wonderful and fulfilling relationship all while their health goes downhill.  Sally Hepworth knows how to make us feel joy, sadness, frustration, empathy and love in this very powerful novel.

 

 

Nasty Women

According to Madeline Berg, Forbes staff: When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”, he didn’t mean it as a compliment. But subsequently, many women have been embracing the term – if Clinton is nasty, well they want to be nasty, too.

Elizabeth Holliday, lead designer at e-commerce site Swanky Press says, “It has morphed from the insult that Trump intended to a badge of honor for accomplished women.”

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Here we have Nasty Women, A Collection of Essays and Accounts On What It Is To Be A Woman In The 21st Century published by 404 Ink, a new, alternative, independent publisher based in the UK. Issue 1 of their literary magazine was published in November 2016 and Nasty Women, their first book, funded on Kickstarter, will be available in March 2017.

Complex issues of being a women in today’s day and age are discussed in this compilation of essays by a diverse group of women from all over the country. Topics include Trump, Brexit, pregnancy, contraception, body heath, mental illness and gun safety along with sexual orientation, harassment, rape and gender violence. Each essay is unique in voice and provides personal opinions specific to the author but is relatable in some way.

A few of my favorite essays in this collection are:

Independence Day by Katie Muriel, a Puerto Rican Feminist
The Difficulty in Being Good by Zeba Talkhani, a writer and production editor educated in Saudi Arabia, India and the UK
The Dark Girl’s Enlightenment by Joelle A. Owusu, a British writer and poet from Surrey

Nasty Women powerfully highlights a wide range of issues and is a must read for all nasty women out there! A great gift for any female in the 21st century!  Available March 8th.

Valentine’s Day Giveaways!

The month of February is a great time to spread a little love. The gift of reading is perfect for every age and I am excited to offer something special to my followers.  I have one of each of these great books, all by authors from my home state of Connecticut, to give away!

To win one of these books as a special Valentine’s Day gift, like this post, write the titles you want to win in the comments, and share it on Facebook or Twitter. A winner for each book will be chosen at random on February 14th!

 

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Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen

Sally Allen wrote a book about books for anyone who loves to read or wants to start reading more. My To Be Read list has grown because of her and I am forever thankful!

 

Goodreads summary states:

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own. In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

To purchase Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers on Amazon : CLICK HERE

 

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Circus Girl written and illustrated by Clare Pernice

This colorful picture book is a must for every young child’s library!

 

Goodreads summary states:

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts.  Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

To purchase Circus Girl on Amazon: CLICK HERE

 

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Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad by Catherine Onyemelukwe

Catherine’s tells her fascinating story and includes her wedding photo from 1965 that appeared in Life Magazine along with several others.  This is a memoir not to be missed!

 

Goodreads summary states:

In 1962, when twenty-one-year-old Catherine Onyemelukwe launched her two-year adventure with the brand-new Peace Corps, she had no idea what the African country had in store. Nigeria, where she was assigned, was newly independent. Full of excitement, anticipation, and curiosity about the unknown, this young Midwestern woman set out to make the world a better place. But she didn’t realize that Nigeria was instead about to make her a better person.
Catherine’s heartfelt memoir revisits her two years overseas that become twenty-four, during which her experiences brim with friendships, students, travels around the country, and love. It recalls how her future Nigerian husband contrives to meet her, their falling in love, and their controversial wedding that becomes world news with their photo in Life Magazine.
Catherine’s memoir follows her journeys between America and Nigeria and the resulting relationships, hardships, dangers, surprises, and ultimately the unbreakable bond that develops between her and a complicated country she continues to love to this day. It’s a passionate story of multiculturalism and family that readers won’t soon forget.
It is also a deep look into the coups and war that force their family to leave the city and live in her husband’s village, without electricity and running water, where they struggle to keep their children safe and healthy. When the hardships of war become overbearing, she flees to Europe and then the United States to await the war’s end, only to be greeted with scorn for her mixed-race children.
This story of adapting to a new culture, taking risks, surviving, and embracing differences will inspire the reader to venture beyond perceived horizons and see the world in a whole new light.

To purchase Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad on Amazon: CLICK HERE

 

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Don’t forget…to win, like this post, write the titles you want to win in the comments, and share it on Facebook or Twitter. A winner for each book will be chosen at random on February 14th!

 

“Give Me Your Tired…”

“Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

In 1886 France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty. “The torch is a symbol of enlightenment. The Statue of Liberty’s torch lights the way to freedom showing us the path to Liberty.”  And yet…

On Saturday, May 13, 1939 the ocean liner St. Louis set sail from Hamburg, Germany to Havana, Cuba with 900 passengers, mostly Jews, trying to escape Hitler and his armies. Two weeks later the ship arrived in Havana and only 22 Jews along with four Cubans and two Spaniards were allowed to disembark and the remaining passengers and crew on the St. Louis were ordered to leave Cuban waters by June 2. The German captain of the St. Louis, looking out for the best interests of his passengers, regardless of their religion, continually attempted to find another safe port and as the ship approached Miami, Franklin D. Roosevelt denied entry to the United States and then Canada followed suit. Great Britain, France, Belgium and Holland ultimately agreed to take some of the passengers and then, months later, many European countries were occupied by Nazis. Only the people who disembarked in Great Britain escaped the immediate horror of Hitler and his followers, the rest were caught up in the war or murdered in concentration camps.

 

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The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa is a fictional story based on the history of Nazi Germany, the ocean liner St. Louis, the Cuban Revolution and New York City post 911. Young Hannah and her family, feeling the effects of antisemitism in Hamburg in 1939, make plans to start fresh on the island of Cuba. Along with her friend, Leo, and his dad, they embark on the ocean liner, the St. Louis, with high hopes for a new beginning.

Young Anna and her mother live in New York City post 911, and they have received a package with old photographs from a relative in Cuba. Living with imagined memories of her Cuban father she never knew, the young girl is anxious to know who the people are in the photos. Anna’s mother agrees to take her to Cuba to see where her father grew up and to learn more about the family history of her husband who is gone.

The two stories are beautifully woven together with first loves, hopes, disappointments and tragedies as we learn how the two girls are connected. This heart wrenching and tragic historical fiction debut novel was well written and the author included a special treat at the back of the book; all the signatures of the passengers on the St. Louis.

To read about the horrible injustices our country and others exhibited during this time is appalling and hopefully enough of us will continue to fight for everyone’s rights so it won’t happen again.

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Photo credit:  Jennifer S. Brown, author of Modern Girls.

Lift and Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein

 

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Marcy, a 56 year old devoted wife and mother of three is shocked and dismayed when she learns Harvey, her husband of 33 years who she loves and built a life with has cheated on her. Harvey, dedicated CEO of a bra factory has admitted to straying from his marriage to be with a young lingerie model leaving Marcy alone to pick up the pieces of her life; helping her own mother as she battles injury and illness, advising and guiding her adult children, starting a new job, and accepting the challenge of how to fill the void and not the refrigerator.
Faced with uncertainty of the future Marcy is forced to become the center of her own life and although it is difficult at first, she shows us all how a strong woman can keep a sense of humor while coming to terms with change and embracing a fresh new start.  Infidelity, remorse and forgiveness, death and birth, friendship, family and new beginnings: Lift and Separate covers it all and is a story told with drama, emotion and humor. Author Marilyn Simon Rothstein uses vivid, riddle like metaphors and colorful details to enrich this moving tale of heartbreak and healing. I cried tears and I laughed out loud, surely the sign of a good read when you need an escape!

 

About the author (picked up from Goodreads):

For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator. Marilyn received a master of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and a master of arts in Judaic studies from the University of Connecticut.