Friday, January 20, 2012

Jane of the Jungle by Jane Baskin

Jane of the Jungle by Jane Baskin ISBN 978-1-4620-0292-4 This book is available in Hardcover, Softcover and Kindle editions.

Most books can nicely fit into certain categories, but this book is not one of them. It has romance, adventure, science-fiction moments, suspense, mob-mafia characters, talking tigers, motorcycle gangs, and middle-aged main characters. Yet with so many different types of things going on, the book reads well and is highly entertaining.

One of the delightful things about this book is that the main characters are middle-aged swiftly sliding into old-age. They are starting to feel the effects of their age while in their minds they are so much younger and still want so much out of life. As someone that is middle age with chronic health problems that make me feel like I'm in my 80's most of the time, I enjoyed reading a book that has intriguing main characters in my age range which is a rare thing to find.

Jane is a fairly new widow. She has found that now that her husband has died leaving her a pile of unpaid medical bills, she is tired of her ER nursing job and wants something different in her life. So she walks away from her old life. Or to be more accurate, drives away in an old RV. And then her adventures begin. Since I am not the writer that the author is, I can't give a good blurb about what this book was about without it seeming absolutely silly, but the book was great fun to read. I get so tired of authors of novels that can only seem to write dreary, depressing books. I read books for entertainment and this book is certainly entertaining. It is also one of the first books that I have ever read that I thought could be made into a fun movie and have been trying to figure out who would be good at playing the main parts. As I mentioned before, the actors would need to be middle aged which I hear are hard parts to find lead roles for, actresses especially, at this age.

You should find this book to be a bit bizarre, a bit fun, interesting and very different to read. I hope the author writes a lot more books as it was a refreshing change to read such a fun book. This is a great book to read when you need an uplifting fun book when life has gotten you a bit down or you are in the midst of an arthritis flare-up like I was, as I have found that humor helps decrease the pain.

Oath of Office by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office by Michael Palmer ISBN 978-0-312-58753-6 Being Published in February 2012! It will be available as hardcover, Kindle and as an audio book on CD.

I was thrilled to get a chance to review this book before publication as I am a huge Michael Palmer fan! My first comment on getting to read this advanced reading copy of this great book is how wonderful it was to read an ARC without a bazillion spelling and other type errors. The book read well so I had nothing to distract me from reading and thoroughly enjoying this book.

As usual with most of Michael Palmer’s books, this book revolves around medical and political issues. In this book, it deals with genetic modification of food to increase yield and productivity, although it takes awhile in the book to figure this out. There are two main characters in the book. One is the President’s wife, Dr. Darlene Mallory, who is a pediatrician and has taken up the reigns of working to solve hunger and nutrition problems in the USA. The other being a part time ER doctor, Dr. Lou Welcome, that also works as a counselor for a Physician Wellness Organization that helps medical doctors overcome substance abuse. Dr. Welcome himself has an addiction to alcohol and had been sober for years and is now counseling other doctors. The book starts out with one of Dr. Welcome’s counselees going ‘postal’ after seeing a patient, and shoots all the patients and staff in his office and then shoots himself in the head.

Dr. Welcome rushes to the hospital where his friend has been taken to find that the staff treating him is doing so in a lackadaisical and unprofessional manner, including the neurosurgeon trying to remove the bullet in the patient’s brain in the ICU instead of the operating room. Also, an infiltrated IV lines, a respiratory technician that wasn’t careful monitoring his breathing or the respirator. Even with Dr. Welcome’s help, his friend dies. He is baffled as to why the staff had used such poor medical procedures in caring for his friend. Was it because it was a small town and they wanted him to die for what he had done or was it something deeper and stranger?

As the book continues, Dr. Welcome, keeps finding weird things going on with the people in the town where the shooting had happened including seeing a young man get his thumb chopped off while the chef was chopping carrot coins. Then discovers the young man keeps mutant termites that eat live mice for pets.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States’ wife is being contacted covertly for reason she doesn’t understand, but finds that talking to her husband about it only makes him angry, especially when speaking about the former head of the Department of Agriculture. In their trying to figure out what is going on Lou and Darlene meet and compare notes so to speak. They find that a grower has been growing and is about to export a huge amount of genetically mutated corn which the characters start to call Frankencorn as it is so different from normal corn growth both in the number of kernels in the ears and the amount of ears to a stalk of corn.

This is a thoroughly well written book about many issues that confront us today, especially the genetic work being done to increase crop yields without truly knowing how it will affect the people or animals that ingest the food. It also touches on the needs for physicians to have proper help in combating addictive behavior.  Also how politics have moved far beyond what our founding fathers would have planned for politicians to have uncontrolled power over others in our country. This was a very interesting and well-written book and I enjoyed reading it. I will be looking forward to his next book.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Decided to copy over my sewing blog post as I don'tknow how many readers overlap, but part of this blog is about books and reading so it is in line with the topics of this blog.
Last year (2011) was a rough one physically for me with a lot of pain and periods of discouragement. Then I found a devotional book at our local library book sale on seeing the gifts that God gives or brings our way. I read through that book twice during the year before passing it on to someone else that might find use for it. Over the month of December, which was a financial strain for us, I thought again about that book and my need to acknowledge the gifts that come my way. I wanted to focus on the good and not the bad that was happening in my life. Suddenly life just didn't feel as full of strain and problems when thinking about the good that was happening.

When Ron and Savannah came for Christmas he brought me 3 Sew Beautiful magazines that someone had given him to pass on to me. I hadn't seen them before as I don't have a subscription to this magazine as so many of the projects are for little girls that I don't have much opportunity to sew too much for. I was very excited to get these magazines and reading them helped to take my mind off the pain I'm in. Best of all I saw some neat ideas that I can hardly wait to try on the Little Dresses for Africa dresses that I make.  In one of the issues they even had a 'pillowcase' dress.

My next sewing 'gift' came in the mail today. A friend from one of my sewing digests wrote me and offered to send me 6 memory cards and a hoop to go with my second hand Janome 9000 or she was going to throw them out! I was so grateful for her generosity and she even refused to let me pay for the shipping!

Several weeks ago I had an author write me and ask me to read and review her book which I of course said yes to. Although I've been having a hard time reading this past week, this has been a fun and interesting book to read and I will be doing a review of it soon. And then today I received my second book gift. Michael Palmer sent me an Advanced Reading Copy of his book Oath of Office to read and review. Since he is one of my favorite authors, this will be a treat indeed!

I challenge you to keep track of the gifts that come your way so that on discouraging days you can think of the many blessings that have come your way. God indeed is good!