Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.
The first book today is the poignant memoir by Miriam Hurdle…it is an inspiring read and I can recommend The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.
About the book
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this…
Our experiences are stepping stones for much of what feeds our character. We live, we experience, we learn, we become, and we overcome.
I always look forward to reading D.G. Kaye’s books because I know they will be authentic, witty, and compelling.
Throughout D.G. Kaye’s latest memoir, she draws her readers in by sharing her past experiences. A reader can easily relate to fifteen real talk stories that cover topics such as her obsession with shoes, her hilarious experience with her first Christmas tree, her disastrous experiment with changing from blonde to redhead, her first kiss, and many more firsts, at times bittersweet, including the death of a close friend.
In particular, I found her tribute to her beloved husband to be so very touching. She writes how no man could make her laugh. In the past laughter for her “could mask so many scars, aches, and insecurities….It was always me making someone else laugh…That was until I met my husband. Here was a man who made me laugh.”
During this Christmas season, if you’re feeling stressed like many of us are, I highly recommend this book. Relax and give yourself this gift for the holiday season. Your heart will likely smile as you reflect on some of your firsts and take a journey down your own memory lane.
Flashes of Life is Pamela S. Wight’s love story to her family: her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her son-in law. It is a treasure for her family to behold. What a wonderful gift!
Having said this, it also goes beyond the personal and into our collective consciousness. Her flash fiction stories are relatable in their universal truths about “extraordinary ordinary” life situations. Think of a middle-aged woman dancing in front of a mirror on a Wednesday afternoon. Or, Remember those first days of school, when the teacher asked you to write about your summer vacation? What did you focus on? How about Watching the sleep of babies in so total, full abandon? And an old favorite, Life is short, give up what is unnecessary.
Pamela S. Wight (don’t ask what the S stands for…she herself doesn’t know) bears her soul abundant with consideration, kind-heartedness and benevolence. This is most evident in her flash fiction about the shrimp meal which her son in law made. You have to love her!
We toasted to each other, to shrimp, and to ordinary family get-togethers that are extraordinary in their ability to make us happy.
As someone who writes crime fiction and reads a lot of crime fiction this was such a welcome contrast of pure love and the reassurance that life can and is beautiful.
Flashes of Life is entertaining, sharp and always very perceptive. In short, it is a treat. Much like ice-cream on a hot summer afternoon.
Finally, I have my e-books into paperback and it was a frustrating journey. First, the technical designer I hired didn’t work out after three months of back and forth with her. Then, the second technical consultant wasn’t able to put two of my e-books into paperback either because the one of the original e-book cover no longer existed or the owner of the other e-book was asking an exorbitant amount of money to use it. Then, there was the problem of Kindle’s size requirements, which luckily my technical consultant was able to deal with.
In the end, I ended up having to choose different covers for two of my paperbacks. So, three months later, here are my paperback novels.
About the Getting to Mr. Right Series
The series starts off by focusing on Campbell Jones –an award-winning relationship-therapist at the peak of her career. Friendship and support shared between the characters of Campbell’s focus group evolves as the novel progresses.
The underlying theme throughout the original Getting to Mr. Right and the four novellas which follow is “being true to oneself.” The novellas are all expansions of the main story – dating adventures for Missi, a café for Suzy, dealing with an uprooted life for Felicity and an unexpected pregnancy on the edge of mid-life for Campbell. The series has gone beyond the original premise of “Getting a man” and in true women’s fiction style, deals with the issues that come after “happily ever after.” Although all these women are now in romantic relationships, it’s more the by-product of living their lives fully than a pursuit for finding a partner.
Campbell’s research into the father/daughter dynamic and how it affects a woman’s personal choices proves that Prince Charming is nothing but a myth. In a few months, she will receive international recognition for her work.As part of her study, Campbell gives workshops to help women still seeking Mr. Right. Her latest group is made up of three women: Missi Morgan, who can’t seem to let go of a philandering spouse; Suzy Paradise, a self-proclaimed queen of online dating; and Felicity Starr, whose life and career are dictated by a controlling father.In the midst of her study, a charming and personable man enters Campbell’s life, putting her theories in shambles. Not only does she now question the validity of her research, but she must choose between her career and having her own Prince Charming. This personal dilemma makes it difficult for Campbell to give these women advice, as she encourages them to find their own paths to happiness and helps them set themselves free.
Missi Morgan is your everyday middle-aged woman who is suddenly thrust into an online dating world after years of married bliss. After learning to let go of Max, her husband who dumped her, Missi explores the world of online dating. Through one disastrous date after another, Missi learns lessons that help her discover what she truly wants. She may not find the perfect match but she finds the perfect self.
A romantic comedy for anybody having to tackle online dating and letting go.
Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes. Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths. Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.
Most of Suzy Paradise’s dreams died along with her son over twenty years ago. One thing has re-ignited her passion for living – running her own café, which specializes in home-baked donuts. For Suzy, this is a long-cherished dream come true. Her business is starting to flounder when Donuts-A-Million, a giant chain, opens across the street from her. Her unexpected attraction to Coen Walsh, a regular customer at her café, creates more tension when she learns of his affiliation with her competitor. Café Paradise is about Suzy’s fight to save her business in spite of the odds. Sometimes, she realizes, dreams have an expiration date and it takes just as much courage to let them go. Along the way, she must re-define the meaning of work, family and romance so she can find her own formula for happiness.
In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down. Now she’s married to Chand. But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion. Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!
A psychological crime novel about obsession. Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her savior from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together? Detective Van Ray is on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection. Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological crime novel about human frailty and loneliness.
Mourning Has Broken offers a moving and poignant look at grief and loss. In this collection of narrative non-fiction essays, the author speaks from the heart not only about the death of a dear sister but also about the mourning of a mother, a father, a dear friend, a career and a religion. Readers who have known loss will find much to relate to in this book, and will particularly appreciate the author’s ability to be frank and open and at times humorous about feelings that might be difficult to acknowledge.
Bau and Doris had a special bond. As a patient who suffered from Alzheimer, Doris had lost much of her ability to verbally communicate. However, with Bau she tended to speak more and became joyful. Her sad mood lifted and Bau was always excited to see her. This is what animal therapy can do.
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Millions of people have died from this virus and millions more have had their souls and hearts ripped apart because of loved ones suddenly gone.
When my mother died I wrote Don’t Bring me Flowers, an essay which is in the Mourning Has Broken collection. In the weeks which followed my sister’s death, an urge to write an essay about her also emerged . It was at page eighty that I realized the essay had flown off on its own and that I’d given myself this mission: for one year I would write about mourning as I went about my life collecting memories as myriads of emotions assailed me.
Through it all, I explored the meaning of life and the changes of my own beliefs, taking me through a journey of sorrow, guilt, regret, joy and hope.
I am always enthusiastic about reading a book by D.G. Kaye. I have read all of her books so far and have enjoyed them all. Her May/December memoir Twenty Years: After “I Do” doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s probably her best, which is normal I guess. We do tend to get better with practice.
Although Twenty Years: After “I Do” focuses on growing old with a partner who is much older than herself, D.G. Kaye’s message is ageless as she tackles the issues of health, finance, mortality and children with clarity, authenticity and her usual grace.
D.G. Kaye is known for her ability to tell it like it is. There’s no sugar coating here although there is a lot of tenderness, affection, kind heartedness and insight drawn from her life experiences – sharing her life experiences to offer a helping hand is D.G. Kaye’s trademark. Much of her blog is about that and this munificence is evident throughout this book.
The book is an easy and enjoyable read. But make no mistake; it is by no means frivolous or meaningless. The book is filled with insights regarding the author’s reflections on keeping the flames of a relationship alive.
Sure, it’s not always easy, as she points out. Her and her husband do have disagreements, as all couples do, but their commitment to each other in sickness and in health, till death do us part and even after is a model for anyone to follow.
One last thing, Gordon (Puppy) her husband is a lucky guy to have such a loving wife.