Archive | August 2017

Remember

 

Remember

Remember me with the dawn’s first light,
Remember me throughout the day.
Remember the songs we used to sing,
And all the things that we’d say.

Remember me every evening,
When your head touches down, soft and low.
Remember the joys and sorrows we shared,
Remember our songs long ago.

For like it or not, I share your life.
I share your hopes and your dreams.
You and I, are part of a song,
You and I share the same theme.

Remember the evenings we cried together,
Remember the mornings we laughed.
Remember the times that we hugged and sang,
Remember the nights that we talked.

As you journey this day, far far away,
Off on a new path and dream.
Remember the ones whom you left behind,
The ones who still whisper your name.

For we are your family, both your friends and your foes,
We are a part of your life.
Always together, though separate in space,
Our hearts will never let go.

So sing out our memory, the songs of our lives,
Sing of the joys we have shared,
Never forget us, the ones left behind.
For we are the hearts of your soul.

© V.L. Murray August 29, 2017

 

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Book Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Book Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Wow, what an amazing book. I have been intrigued by stories about women and their lives in Afghanistan and the Middle East for years. This one was a mix of an incredible story, or shall I say two stories of parallel lives a century apart, and the nightmare which is the life of many women in that nation. When I read these stories, I am incredibly grateful that I was born into the nation of Canada where women are treated as equals and have the same rights as men.

Can you imagine a life where you are completely under the rule of the male of the household? Can you imagine a life where you are not allowed to go out even to shop for food without a male companion? And what do you do if there are no men in your life? Well, you can starve to death. Can you imagine a life where if you violate laws you will be executed, stoned to death? Take a moment and imagine yourself in that situation. They are throwing rocks at you, hitting you and inflicting incredible pain upon your body, over and over until you are finally knocked out and killed. Good grief! What kind of world is that?

This story has all of it in it. The stoning, the fears, the loss of freedom, the beatings, the hopes and desires for something better. All mixed in together and covering more than just one woman’s life. The year is 2007 and the place is Kabul under the Taliban. Rahima is a young girl whose family is ruled by a drug-addicted father. The girls of the family rarely get to go out or to school. So they resort to an age-old tradition which personally, I had no idea existed. They dress Rahima up as a boy and send her out into the world as a male member of the family. The tradition is called bacha posh. But because Rahima learns all about the freedoms of men, she is almost ruined when she goes through puberty and suddenly finds herself married to a much older rebel fighter, a warrior who has successfully defeated Taliban. Her life descends into a living hell.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, especially one which outlines the day-to-day life of the average Afghanistan woman and their cultures and thought processes. It’s almost an ethnological study of their world. If you want to know what’s really going on in Afghanistan from a guts level, this is the book for you.

And, bottom line, this was extremely well written. Nice job for a first time author. Well written, well developed. Nice timing and flow. As an editor and crazed literary reader, I give it a five star rating. I couldn’t give it any less. ***** This isn’t just a story, it’s the kind of book which should be studied in school. I remember those kind. They were often life changing. This is one of those books. I plan to read her others.

Amazon.com Blurb:

“Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi’s literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one’s own fate that combines the cultural flavour and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See.
In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.
But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?”

I hope you will seek out a copy and read this. You won’t be sorry.
Lynne

 

Book Review: Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

Book Review: Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

This is one of those books that you can’t put down. I think it took me two days to read it and I only came up for air a couple of times. Thankfully the hubby fed the critters as I was just able to mumble incoherently every once in a while.

There are three plots within the book: 1) The nightmare of Doctor Julia Cates, a psychiatrist going through a lawsuit because of a patient’s behaviour which has cost the lives of several young people. 2)A wild child, a lost little girl, who finds her way into a small town seeking food and survival, and is taken into protective custody by the local sheriff, who just happens to be the psychiatrist’s sister. She must find her way forward through the nightmare of her past into a world she barely remembers. 3) Two broken women, sisters, face all the things which have kept them apart and kept them from fulfilling their lives through loving relationships.

It’s a mitt-full, but done so very well. I love the study of the human mind. Every since my Law Enforcement studies days when we got to dig into cases and study the psychology of the abnormal mind, I have been totally addicted.

What makes us tick? What causes us to arrive where we end up? What makes one human do inhumane things to anyone and anything? I think that’s the reason I am a writer, as well. It’s a chance to do what actors do, to live another life. But this time you get to experiment and search another’s soul to find out what motivates them.

It is not apparent at first, what has made this wild child wild, or even where she came from. It takes a while to delve into her consciousness, because first, she must learn to communicate. I’m an animal lover. My dog grew up wild, with no human contact except for gunfire and cruelty during his first year of life. As a result, when he came to us, he didn’t understand human language. Now, I’d had three other dogs but because they grew up with people they all understood English. So I had to communicate with him as a mother dog would with growls and barks, shaking of his withers and affection. I would wash his face with a washcloth mimicking his dog-mother’s tongue. That can still put him to sleep. Gradually he understood what I meant but it was a challenge at times.

So what do you do when the creature is a human with no communication skills? In some ways the book reminded me of the Helen Keller story. There were a lot of similarities in the methods used to reach the child and teach her to understand. Every success felt like it deserved an Oscar.

The other story within the story, the two sisters learning who they each were and why and what had been the good and bad dynamics of their relationship is just as important to this whole thing. Their history has brought them to the place where they can do something for this child and they are willing to sacrifice almost everything to keep her safe.

It’s a heartwarming story of perseverance, love, self-discovery and success. But it’s also one heckuva mystery which had to be solved. In the solving, the nightmare could be put to rest or begun again.

A worthy read. Be prepared with hankies and food. You won’t want to put it down.
Five stars all the way. *****

Description
“Deep in the Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly one million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. Even in this modern age, much of it remains undiscovered and uncharted. From the heart of this old forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she can give no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past…
Until recently, Dr. Julia Cates was one of the preeminent child psychiatrists in the country, but a scandal shattered her confidence, ruined her career, and made her a media target. When she gets a desperate call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a police chief in their small western Washington hometown, she jumps at the chance to escape.
In Rain Valley, nothing much ever happens—until a girl emerges from the deep woods and walks into town. She is a victim unlike any Julia has ever seen: a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation.
When word spreads of the “wild child” and the infamous doctor who is treating her, the media descend on Julia and once again her competence is challenged. State and federal authorities want to lock the girl away in an institution until an identification can be made.
But to Julia, who has come to doubt her own ability, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. To heal this child, Julia will have to understand that she cannot work alone and must look to others—the people in the town she left long ago, the sister she barely knows, and Dr. Max Cerrasin, a handsome, private man with secrets of his own.
Then a shocking revelation forces Julia to risk everything to discover the truth about Alice. The ordeal that follows will test the limits of Julia’s faith, forgiveness, and love, as she struggles to ascertain where Alice ultimately belongs.
In her most ambitious novel to date, Kristin Hannah delivers an incandescent story about the resilience of the human spirit, the triumph of hope, and the mysterious places in the heart where love lies waiting.”
From: https://kristinhannah.com/books/magic-hour/

 

Enjoy!

Lynne

 

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Book Review: Come Hell or High Water by Nancy M. Bell

Come Hell or High Water is book 2 in the “Longview Romance Series” from author Nancy M. Bell. It’s published by Books We Love, out of Calgary, Alberta.

This is a super interesting story with lots of excitement and thrills and spills. The action scenes in the chuckwagon races alone make it worth reading. You get the feeling, reading this series, that Ms. Bell knows something about farms and horses and such. And you would be correct.

She started out in Ontario and not only rode and competed in horse competitions but also taught riding. She continued most of her horse related activities when she moved to Alberta many years ago and still has lots of critters around her on the little farm which she and her hubby occupy. These days, besides writing, she does animal rescue work with various groups in the greater Calgary area.

Come Hell or High Water continues the romance between Michelle Wilson and new-to-the-area vet, Cale Benjamin, whom she is now living with. Michelle rescued Storm the dog in the first book of the series and now has her and her pup. There’s lots of dissension in the air between her ex, her brother and his new girlfriend, and Michelle. She’s a bit ornery at times and hot headed. She’s also big on rodeos, and so if you are a fan, this is the book for you.

As I said at the beginning, the chuckwagon race scenes are riveting and incredibly well described. I was on the edge of my seat and it was just like being at the movies. Pretty exciting. And, just when you think the thrills are over, Ms. Bell throws in snowstorms, truck and trailer accidents and then a flood.

The only thing bothering me in the book was the misprints and slips. I think it needed one more read through by the editor.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Michelle Wilson has the world by the tail. Cale loves her and she loves him. Storm is happy and healthy. To top it off, Michelle has qualified for the Calgary Stampede. She can’t wait to barrel race for a chance at $100,000 on Showdown Sunday. All her dreams are coming true; nothing could possibly spoil her happiness. Could it? Shelly, her brother’s new girlfriend seems a tad too interested in her old friend Cale Benjamin. And what’s with Michelle’s ex-fiancé Rob who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Why can’t his brand new wife Kayla keep a tighter rein on that cowboy?

Here’s an excerpt:

“Toad quivered under her, twitching at the huge pieces of flotsam that rushed past just a few feet away. Once the other horse was far enough ahead, Michelle gave Toad his head. Her stomach clenched and flipped as his hind end dropped out from under her. The bank they were standing on collapsed into the river. The buckskin threw himself forward and clawed back onto semi-solid ground. Between the pain in her head and with the use of only one hand, Michelle slid out of the saddle. The rain blurred her vision and her head spun. There was no way she was going to get back on the horse. Stacey was a quarter of the way up the coulee, obviously unaware Michelle was in danger. Another old cottonwood uprooted by the river bobbed by, its branches scraping along the ragged bank.

Toad nudged her with his nose, eyes showing white around the edges. He wouldn’t leave her until she gave him permission. She looped the dragging reins around the horn and swatted him on the ass. “Go on git!” Tears of frustration mingled with the rain on her face. “

Okay, I’m stopping there. Just go buy the book! You can get a physical copy at most Chapters stores in Canada. Or you can order it online from anywhere that sells books.

Here’s the amazon.ca link!

And the link to Nancy’s website. http://www.nancymbell.ca

Happy reading!
Lynne