Lost in the Reflecting Pool

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: a memoir by Diane Pomerantz. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2017. 320 pages. *****

Dr. Pomerantz proves that it doesn't matter how educated a person is, it is easy to get drawn in by a manipulative person. Even though she is a psychologist and her intuition tells her that Charles has issues with his parents he should have worked out by now, she marries him anyway. The book begins by describing how Charles deals with an annoying cat from the previous owner and right away, I wanted to tell her to take the kids and run. Dr. Pomerantz is very adept at denying to herself and others how she and the children are treated especially when she is diagnosed with cancer and her husband becomes annoyed with rather than supportive of her experience. He is jealous that her family and friends rally around her and makes himself unavailable by having an affair with one of his patients, risking his medical license and financial security.

In this psychological memoir/thriller, it is easy to see that while dealing with day-to-day challenges, Dr. Pomerantz feels helpless in her situation. This book will serve as a wake-up call to many who are abused to seek assistance, set boundaries, and to protect themselves by having complete access to joint assets. Her husband is always stressing about finances, however, Dr. Pomerantz seems to have no idea how much money they have and how their income is spent. While some of her recollections seem unbelievable in her retelling, they ring true in the horrifying details and her feelings of rejection and isolation. This is a book that will not easily be forgotten and will hopefully raise awareness of narcissistic, abusive behavior. With the help of her father Dr. Pomerantz is able to escape, but for many others, that is not an option. Book Clubs should consider this as a group read based on the many topics (adoption, spousal abuse, cancer, fertility issues, etc.)  for discussion.

I received a copy for a review. I am reading and reviewing Memoirs for the Magic of Memoir blog tour through BookSparks. The four books (including this one) have been some of the best memoirs I have read in awhile. I recommend all of them even if memoirs are not your usual genre.

Two more to finish, check back for those reviews.

For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Diane Pomerantz has been a practicing psychologist, teacher, supervisor, and speaker in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Dr. Pomerantz has published articles on topics of childhood trauma and personality development. This is her first book. She has two grown children and lives in Maryland with Rug, her shaggy dog.

@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @dianepomernatz #bookmail


You Can't Buy Love Like That

You can't buy love like that: growing up gay in the sixties by Carol E. Anderson. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 215 pages. ****
Coming of age in the '60s was difficult enough without realizing that you are a lesbian in a fundamental Christian home. Fearing the rejection of her parents and societal reproach, Carol hides her feelings for another woman and becomes engaged to a man. Carol is close to her father and regrets not telling him her truth before he dies. Not only is this a story of love and denial, it is a history lesson and reflective look back. The stress and deceit of denying her relationships to those close to her carried a high price. Carol falls in love with a married woman in an open marriage and is honest about the emotional toll when that relationship ends. 
I was fascinated by Carol's story. I was a teen during the '60s and her story brought back many memories for me. It must have been so difficult for a gay person in the Age of Aquarius, which "denoted boundary violation, carefree abandonment, humor, and a venue for imbibing in booze, dope, nudity, sex, and upbeat music, mostly but not exclusively rock." All true except for anyone gay. Calling someone a lesbian on the playground was the worst insult in the 50s and 60s and yet it seemed that anything was acceptable sexually as long as it was between a man and a woman.  Her story made me wonder if friends, colleagues, and how many others suffer needlessly because of who they are. Carol and her mother show us that we are better than that and love is the only answer. This memoir is a compelling read and provides many points of discussion for people of all ages. 
I received a copy for a review. 
For 30 years, Carol has served as an independent consultant and coach, bringing greater meaning and consciousness to individuals, teams, and organizations. In addition to working with a range of individual coaching clients and consulting with large and small organizations, she served as the coach for each cohort of the Executive MBA program at the Ross School of Business – The University of Michigan.
Carol holds a doctorate in Spiritual Studies from Wisdom University (CA) and a Master’s degree in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University (CA). She has earned additional Master’s degrees in Film and Video from the University of Michigan and in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Carol is a certified Integral Coach (New Ventures West, 2009), as well as a trained Quantum Coach (Gay Hendricks’ program, 1999). She has also completed a four-year program in the healing arts at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, equipping her to bring healing concepts into organizational settings.
Carol served as a school psychologist and teacher in public schools for 8 years before she began consulting.
@BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @caroleanderson #bookmail

But My Brain Had Other Ideas

But My Brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury by Deb Brandon. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2017. 299 pages. ****

Deb Brandon shares her story to educate and call attention to Cavernous Angioma. Cavernous angiomas are vascular lesions comprised of clusters of abnormally dilated blood vessels. What that description doesn't tell you, but Deb does, is the impact that condition has on the body and the daily struggle to lead a relatively normal life. After three surgeries, rehab, and battling depression, Deb clearly chronicles her journey and the emotional toll that all of it had on her and her family. The descriptions of the paralyzing effects of her experiences in a crowd situation are absolutely mesmerizing. Her fear is clearly evident and at the same time, her determination to recover and continue teaching as a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University is inspiring.

Prior to reading this book, I had not heard of this condition, so I included two websites to help educate you too. How Deb survived and thrived is beyond comprehension and at times unbelievable. If you like memoirs, you won't be able to put this one down.

I received a copy for a review.

For more information about Cavernous Angioma:

Deborah Brandon, PhD has been a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University since 1991. She has participated nationally and internationally in dragon boating. She is a mother, a writer, and a respected textile artist, as well as a brain injury survivor. Brandon is an active blogger and regularly participates in social media platforms, including Facebook, where she discusses brain injury and its impact, and Twitter, where she posts observations about the sometimes absurd, sometimes bizarre, and always intriguing world of long-term brain injury survivors.

#bookmail @BookSparks #MagicofMemoir @DebBrandon #memoir


The Wake Up

The Wake Up: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2017. 332 pages. Book Club Questions. **** Published December 5, 2017.

Aiden Delacorte is a forty-year-old rancher who has lost his ability to raise cattle for slaughter. His "wake up" comes when he hunts and kills a buck and he feels the buck's pain. Aiden begins to feel the fear and pain from animals around him and he is haunted by his past behavior. When he meets and falls in love with Gwen, his life is further complicated by her son, Milo. Milo has been abused by his father and acts out in his distrust of anyone. Aiden begins to recall his early years with his stepfather and draws on his memories to work with and get close to Milo.

Catharine Ryan Hyde's love for animals comes through clearly in her books. Aiden gives a foal to Milo with the hope that somehow Milo will be more responsible and learn to care for his horse. Aiden's stepfather did the same for him. Hyde's books are heartwarming stories filled with love, hope, and possibility. Realistic in her portrayal of characters who are "broken" and beyond repair, Aiden is investigated when Milo breaks his arm while throwing rocks at some rabbits on the ranch. I have reviewed a few of her other books (Allie and Bea is one of my favorites) and she continues to grow as a writer and I couldn't wait to read this one. I bumped it ahead of the books to be reviewed and I wasn't disappointed!

I received an ecopy for a review.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

@catherineryanhyde #thewakeup 



What is #quiltersbookpassport?

This picture showed up on Instagram and intrigued me...a book and fabric????

It had the #quiltersbookpassport and so I searched that hashtag. It seems that there are a lot of books and fabric out there. Started by buttoncounter (Monica Nauert), there are guidelines to the process: 

I have to admit, I was more intrigued by the fabric then getting the book to read...since I review books, I have more than I can read at any given time, but still, BOOKS and FABRIC? Win-win!

I jumped in with the comment that I wanted this one and I was first. It arrived Priority Mail in a few days and the fabric is gorgeous. I love fabric with printed words on it so I will add it to my stash.
I read the book in a few days and it was an easy, fast read. I messaged the next person on the comments and it is "buttoncounter." 

The hardest part of the whole process is selecting the fabrics to send with the book to the next reader/quilter. I went fabric shopping and checked my stash. I hope she likes them because I think they represent the story. I took the package to the post office and it is on its way!

Will I do it again? Absolutely!

#quiltersbookpassport #booksandquilts


Our Grand Finale

Our Grand Finale: A Daughter's Memoir by Laraine Denny Burrell. She Writes Press, 283 pages. Pictures. ****

A totally relatable memoir of a daughter called home because her father is ill and discovers that he is dying. Having lived an adventurous life traveling as a performer, Laraine always thought there would be the time in the future to spend with her parents, but sometimes life has other ideas. Going through his belongings and reminiscing about events in her hometown, the grief-stricken daughter realizes how much she loves her father and misses him. Chronicling her father's life provides a window into his career as a Royal Yachtsman, his stewardship of a pedigree cat owned by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother and the self-absorbed relationship of her parents.

I'm not sure that Laraine realizes what an amazing life she has led so far. She is paying tribute to her father in this book, however, being left alone as a child which led to her independence clearly defines who she has become today. Her accomplishments are impressive, her courage and determination to keep her son while unwed (and against her parent's wishes) is a story in itself.

While sad at times, this book is a tribute to a life well-lived and the rediscovered love for her father. Burrell's message is clear --- "later" doesn't always come. The black and white photographs throughout the book enhance the story. If you like memoirs, this one is worth a read. 

I received a paperback Advanced Reading Copy for a review.

Laraine Denny Burrell was born and raised in England and at sixteen won a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing in London, England. Burrell spent many years living and working all over the world, performing as a professional dancer, singer, and actress. After retiring as a performer, she went on to obtain three academic degrees, including a law degree. Burrell currently practices as an intellectual property attorney and litigator for a well-established law firm in Washington State. 

#bookmail #MagicofMemoir @BookSparks 


Mini Mosaic Quilts

I love taking classes and learning new techniques in the quilting realm. The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild held a Mini Mosaic Workshop taught by Cheryl Lynch.

Cheryl has a unique and easy way to create these quilts. My sister, Mary, and I selected a "Heart" pattern. Cheryl mentioned that it is the quickest one to complete.


And yes, we showed up in similar clothes to the Workshop! I found this process so relaxing....the squares are 3/8th of an inch. No worries, Cheryl has designed a cutting ruler that makes cutting those little squares incredibly easy.


Mary was determined to finish her heart by the end of the day and she designed her background.

I waited until the end of the day to purchase additional patterns from Cheryl just to make sure I wanted to do more.

I finished my Heart...

I had to make a Flamingo next.


My next pattern is the cutest cat for my Granddaughter, shhh, don't tell!

If you are interested in making a Mini Mosaic for your self...check out Cheryl's Etsy Shop or her Blog. Cheryl is also available for Guild Presentations and/or a Workshop.

#minimosaicquilts @cheryllynchquilts #flamingoquilt #flamingos