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review 2017-03-04 13:32
Wish by Melina Gerosa Bellows
Wish - Melina Gerosa Bellows

When your entire life has been one long search for that mysterious "something" that will finally make you happy and complete, what you want changes faster than the fashions in Vogue. But that doesn't mean you stop wishing, does it?  This is Bella Grandelli's heartbreaking, hilarious, and seemingly hopeless quest-from her days as a pudgy, insecure eight-year-old in the seventies, to a Madonna-worshipping Notre Dame co-ed in the eighties, where she tries on boyfriends as if they're leg-warmers, to a martini-sipping entertainment journalist in the nineties. The only constant through her love-life chaos is her twin brother, Bobby, whose mysterious illness has been a source of both triumph and tragedy-no matter how hard Bella tries to wish him well. But it's only when her family faces a devastating crisis that she finally realizes the painful truth about herself and her life. And no one is more surprised than Bella herself when that journey leads her to the only person in the world who holds the key to her heart.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Bella is searching for that special little something that will finally make her feel happy and complete... that one thing that so many of us feel like we can't quite name but we just know is out there waiting for us. Bella's trouble is that her definition of happy seems to keep changing. Especially when she considers how her autistic twin brother Bobby plays into that idea. Bobby, most days anyway, has a "joy in the little things" way about him. He has a sunny disposition, a love of patterns, and a unique way of speaking, relying almost entirely on dialogue from tv shows he watches -- Star Trek / Yosemite Sam / Batman when he's happy, Bugs Bunny quotes means bad news. 

 

Bobby's upbeat nature often puts Bella's troubles into perspective, even when she'd prefer to, you know, kinda just enjoy wallowing in those indulgent moments of self-pity. She's also always felt a sense of responsibility to Bobby, sometimes more of a parent to him than their actual parents, teaching him things like how to do acceptable eye contact (2 seconds = too short, 5 seconds = too long). All of this factors into how she defines happy, what she wants for herself, what goals she thinks she can accomplish guilt-free. She also contemplates what she needs for her own soul's happiness, regardless of what the world might say it requires of her. 

 

Spanning from an introduction to 8 year old Bella in the 1970s to Bella as a grown female journalist in the 1990s, the format of Wish is set up in a way similar to that of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary (author Melina Bellows even notes the similarity in her author interview at the back of this book) . At each chapter's beginning, the reader is given a rundown of what year it is, Bella's age that year, her favorite song and celebrity idol of the moment, and a noting of her best pair of shoes and prized possession for that year. The plot itself though reminded me a bit of a grown up version of Rules by Cynthia Lord.

 

When Wish was first released back in 2005, I remember seeing it here and there on a few recommended reading lists in magazines I would casually peruse. Since then, I've heard a fair share of less than stellar reviews about it, so it quietly got pushed further and further down on my own mental "to get to one day" reading list. So glad I decided to finally take it home after finding it in a local used bookstore recently! I went into it hesitantly (those reviews in the back of my mind) but came out completely moved by this little story. I saw SO many parallels to my own life in Bella's journey it floored me.

 

Some of those neggy reviews mentioned how cliche it all is and how predictable the romances play out but real life does play out that way too sometimes. Sometimes it IS the most obvious answer once you get out of your own way! But it wasn't even the romances that resonated with me (though I was very much entertained seeing the various situations Bella gets herself into!). For me, it was Bella's inner monologues and overall thought processes that bonded me to her, faulty though they may be sometimes! I loved watching her go through the process of figuring out the reasoning behind ideas like taking care of yourself so you can be better for others, or as Bella's therapist puts it at one point, "Inside every rescuer there is a victim." Bella realizes she doesn't really know how to define herself outside of various levels of caretaker roles within her own family. That's something I struggle with myself to this day so I was definitely rooting for her on her journey and cringing when I knew how badly some of her choices would end up (having been there myself). 

 

 

If you've ever felt overwhelmed with being "the responsible one" in your family (who is then maybe unfairly and harshly judged when you just try to freakin' live a little) then Bella's story may be for you. Hers is a reminder that we're ALL here just trying to figure it all out the best we can and yes, every one of us is going to get the proverbial pie in the face now and then, but we push through and keep going anyway, don't we? :-) I'd also recommend this for anyone gearing up for Autism Awareness Month in April! 

 

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review 2017-02-27 00:43
Alien Refuge (World of Kalquor #7) by Tracy St. John Review
Alien Refuge (Clans of Kalquor) by Tracy St. John (2013-03-12) - Tracy St. John

All Iris Jenson wants is a safe place to raise her autistic six-year-old Thomas. She thinks she’s found it on Haven, an Earther colony located within the Kalquorian Empire’s borders. Making a fresh start under the watchful eyes of Earth’s former enemy has its challenges, but it also possesses opportunities to live free of fear, something Iris hasn’t had in a long time. Love is an added surprise when Haven’s governor Dramok Ospar and his clanmates Nobek Jol and Imdiko Rivek enter the young widow's life.

Trouble is brewing on Haven Colony, however. Insurgent Earthers want to free themselves of Kalquor’s influence, and Kalquor itself is on the brink of a revolt, led by the shadowy figure known only as the Basma. Then a violent ghost from Iris’ past reappears and threatens to snatch Thomas from those who love him. Ospar’s clan races against time to save Haven from a bloody rebellion and Thomas from the grasp of a monster.

Mild BDSM, including anal play/intercourse, bondage, Dom/sub play, forced seduction, and multiple sexual partners (m/f/m/m).

 

 

Review

With this series, the plot arc for the whole series often interferes with what are really tender (albeit erotic) love stories.

 

If the book was more nuanced about the villains and the cultural issues and spent more time on the romance and the cultural world building, I would likely adore this series.

I tend to like it.

 

The heroine has been abused and is raising her son with autism on a colony world sponsored by the Aliens Earth was at war with just a few years ago.

 

All the parts with the begining of education and therapy for her son and the falling in love with the child for the heroes of this book are wonderful.

 

The falling in love with the heroine is nice as well. Especially the parts with the clergy hero. Well, the warrior hero is pretty sweet too.

 

Why when these men are bisexual don't we get sexy times with each other? Sad about that in terms of really looking at a bisexual (at least for the males) poly culture.

 

All the other stuff is a lot of drama and I get a little sick of the zealotry and and hate and wish the series would settle into the two culture assimilating instead of the continued clash.

 

So, I will keep reading and enjoying and being annoyed at the same time.

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review 2017-02-14 22:03
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism - John Donvan,Caren Zucker

I feel I must give the warning that the way most of the population with autism, and most people with mental disabilities, have been treated in the past was awful until recently. This book is about that history. We have come a long way from what used to common in terms of care and treatment of this population, we still must continue to move forward. In order to do so I feel it necessary to learn the history. This is a great place to start.

 

This is respectfully told, as respectful as possible considering the horrors of the past. There is a lot to be learned here. Much of the population that has experienced these things are still around, this helps to understand the reasoning behind so much of what I experience when working with my older individuals at work. I really like that this big book was not filled with a ton of medical information. 

 

I really recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject.

 

About The Authors:

 

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

 

CAREN ZUCKER is a Peabody award-winning television news producer, a twenty-five-year veteran of ABC News, and producer and co-writer of the six-part PBS series “Autism Now.”

 

Amazon US

 

I received a review copy from Blogging for Books.

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

ABOUT CAREN ZUCKER

 

JOHN DONVAN is a multiple Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC and the moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series. Find him on Twitter at @johndonvan.

ABOUT CAREN ZUCKER

 

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review 2016-12-18 04:07
Don't Drink the Kool-Aid
Harmony - Carolyn Parkhurst
The first book I read by Carolyn Parkhurst was weird, and I liked 
it because of its weirdness. But the other books I've read by this author have been weird but also unbelievable. This one is no exception. This family's journey to be part of the founding group of what is billed as a camp but quickly seems more like a cult often doesn't make sense. What bothered me more was the portrayal of the thoughts of the autistic daughter. I've taught autistic kids, and the writing that was supposed to be the autistic daughter didn't ring true to me, to the point where I was tempted to skip over it to the next part of the book.
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review 2016-11-16 19:23
Cowboy and Willis Review
Cowboy and Wills - Monica Holloway

“Mr. and Mrs. Holloway, I have some news concerning about your son.”

 

When a parent hears this from their doctor, they know right away something is wrong. At first you don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to accept that there could possibly be anything wrong with your child. Yes, he may show some signs of being too clingy, he’s terrified of strangers, won’t look you in the eye, and a simple bubble bath is an excruciating experience, but there can’t be anything seriously wrong with him, it’s just….HIM. But when the Doctor confirms that your son has Autism, and that it is a “lifetime affliction” that there is no cure, it changes your life forever. The first thing that usually pops into a mother’s head is “How am I going to do this? What can I do to help my child? Will he ever know how much I love him?” Monica Holloway is lost in trying to find these answers for herself, but because of her unconditional love to her son she wants to make his transition to life smooth.

 

It is a memoir of an unconditional love of a mother whose son has autism. Monica Holloway has read all the books; she read all the forums on the internet; she knew that some way, somehow her son was going to be alright, was going to be able to see the world for what it is and not be afraid of it. Monica didn’t realize that with all the doctors in the world, it was the love from a puppy that would change her sons’ outlook on life.
The moment that her son was diagnosed, she went out to buy some fish to get Will interested in something. He seemed to be interested in the fish, in the hermit crab…a rabbit…a hamster and a sea turtle. Animals seem to keep her son stay in tune with life, and not crawl into his own shell. But with all those animals, Monica never imagined how much one Golden Retriever puppy would transform her son’s life….and hers. Because of her love for her son Wills, she bought him a Golden Retriever which Wills named her Cowboy. Cowboy is a female. She has blonde fur. While Wills not be able to look you in the eye, Cowboy would lick anybody close to her. Wills is in love. Where ever the dog went, Wills was sure to follow and vice versa. Wills wouldn’t leave the dog side for anything. And in turn, Cowboy showed that the big world that Wills is so afraid of isn’t so bad after all.

 

A memoir so rich, so unforgettable that had me reaching for tissues, that I know you all will love and cherish.

 

(I would like to dedicate this book to my cousin who has Autism.)

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/6290336-cowboy-wills
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