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Book Review–The Refuge by Heidi Martin

the refuge

Anna is just not able to allow herself to grieve over her baby daughter’s accidental death. Every day, she runs miles along the beach in Boston and spends hours at work at a prestigious law firm.  As long as she stays busy, she can avoid the overwhelming emotions. Until the day that her husband asks for a divorce and her partner requests that she take a leave of absence. Her life in shambles, she packs her bags and leaves town, destination unknown.  Somewhere near Charlestown fate steps in. Anna learns some important life lessons from her unexpected adventure.

If you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll already know that I’m also on a personal quest of sorts, just as unintentional as Anna’s (See A Room of her Own).  So of course, I found The Refuge by Heidi Martin quite appropriate for my own situation and as a result, enjoyed it immensely.   

I loved that Anna was fallible.  In situation after situation, I kept wondering if she was going to mess her life up yet again. Her reactions were human if short-sighted at times.  I thought her spiritual quest quite a refreshing aspect of the story.  It wasn’t a Find Jesus and Be Saved type of book at all, thank God.  Anna explored Taoism, meditation, the concept of the divine being or source being a woman, and the use of personalized prayer beads.  Even La Virgen de Guadalupe found a place within her search for meaning.

Although there was a happy-ever-after fairytale quality to some sections, things didn’t always work out the way you would have wished, adding realism to the story.  There were a few time lapses in the book.  Some events were merely referred to by the characters in conversation, not actually presented.  I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for ALL of Anna’s adventures.  However, as the book was already 394 pages, I’m sure doing so would have made it humongous!

The characters were well-defined and believable, down to the antics of the 8-year-old neighbor girl. The details were extraordinarily precise.  For example, they were not just drinking coffee, but Viennese coffee. Really, The Refuge by Heidi Martin was a delightful read!

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I hated to see it end, as all good things must do.  I found the twist in the epilogue a pleasant surprise. You’ll have to read it yourself to see what I mean.  I have to say that The Refuge by Heidi Martin is more of a chick-flick feel-good type of book.  Most men probably won’t get all that finding yourself and establishing a room of your own bit. Their loss, I say. I certainly enjoyed it!

Read more about the book here.  This book was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day.

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Book Review–When Leaves Fall by C.A. King


Ralph just can’t quite understand how he got to where he is, chained to a rickety shelter, and in pain from random beatings.  His life wasn’t always like this.  He remembers being loved, having regular meals and jumping in the fallen leaves.  As time passes, his despair turns to desperation.  How long is he to suffer?

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When Leaves Fall by C.A. King is a short, young adult novel told through the perspective of an abused canine.  As we’ve had more than our share of doggy family members, the story appealed to me emotionally.  Our most recent heartbreak happened when our faithful friend Chokis was maliciously poisoned.(See 101 Perritos)

dog1

Chained, malnourished dogs are a common sight here in Mexico, especially with types of dogs bred for fighting.  In January of 2017, the Mexican Congress passed a law that takes the country one step closer to ensuring this inhumane activity can be penalized throughout the country. (See Mexico says ‘no mas’ to dogfighting) In June of the same year, the law was finally approved. Dog fighting is illegal in Mexico, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and $8,300 USD in fines.  If the offender is a Mexican public official, jail time is increased up to 7.5 years. (See Dog fights as sport now illegal in Mexico

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Although I enjoyed When Leaves Fall by C.A. King, there were a few things that I think the author could have done to add to Ralph’s story.  First, Ralph is never identified by breed, so the reader never gets a clear picture of Ralph.  I understand that the author wanted to be inclusive by implying that this could happen to any type of dog classified as “dangerous” but I felt it detracted from the story. While I was reading, I was jumping back and forth with different dog bodies trying to get a good image of Ralph in my mind.  

Secondly, the section of the book that was not told through Ralph’s eyes didn’t seem realistic to me.  Would a woman return an engagement ring in a courtroom over animal abuse?  Although there are established ties between animal abuse and domestic violence (How Are Animal Abuse and Family Violence Linked? ), statistics show that it takes some time for a woman to leave an abusive relationship permanently. (See Eliminate That Seven Times Statistic, 50 Obstacles to Leaving: 1-10).  Is it realistic to believe that what happened to Ralph was enough to save Syndey and her unborn child from the potentially abusive relationship?

Interestingly, many of Ralph’s thoughts as a victim mirror what the mental process of a human victim of abuse. (See EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC ABUSE (ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN).

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars for the above-mentioned reasons.

Animal lovers and compassionate young adult readers will enjoy When Leaves Fall by C.A. King.  As the writing is somewhat simplistic in an effort to present the situation through the dog’s eyes, this book might not appeal to everyone.

Read more about this book here.  This book was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day.

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Book Review–Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life by Fred Emil Katz

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

How do ordinary men and women find themselves complacently or even passionately supporting mass murder?  How can people transcend their immediate personal suffering yet succumb years later?  How can society prevent such atrocities such as the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition from reoccurring? What causes people to willingly sacrifice their lives for a national or religious rationale? How can these things be measured empirically and studied? Author Fred Emil Katz discusses these questions and more in Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life.

The topic presented is complex.  Immediacy: Our Ways of Coping in Everyday Life is a series of essays and articles written by the author during his distinguished career as a sociologist that have been compiled and updated. The book has 5 principal sections, each with an introduction that explains how these chapters relate to the idea of immediacy. I found these introductory chapters to be extremely helpful in my understanding of the material.

It may seem to some that society as a whole has evolved beyond the incidents discussed in this book, but has it?  (List of genocides by death toll) A call for national unity in an effort to make the country great again which becomes the justification for national purging of undesired and unassimilated residents, never mind the cost to human lives, sounds eerily familiar.  Although Katz has more questions than answers for us, at least he is presenting this topic for our consideration and if we were wise, we would ponder them carefully.

I especially found the chapter on societal denial to be eye-opening.  Sometimes, humanity turns a blind eye.  Sometimes we just can’t see.

Does the United States Deport Military Veterans?

America’s shameful ‘prison camps’

Deported Mexicans Face Shattered Lives

Deportees to Mexico’s Tamaulipas preyed upon by gangs

Immigration arrests up 38% nationwide under Trump

US: Deaths in Immigration Detention

Death Rates Among Detained Immigrants in the United States

A Culture of Cruelty

Trump’s Immigration Policies Explained

The Shame of America’s Family Detention Camps

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.  The examples the author uses to illustrate each aspect of immediacy are well-known.  He uses some unorthodox punctuation, dashes rather than commas or parentheses, but it did not detract from the overall readability of the text.

four stars

While I believe that the message is one that everyone should be made aware of, I’m not sure that everyone would benefit from reading this book.  Its tone was scholarly even when discussing the fate of the author’s own parents and elder brother.  Sociology as an applied science is still in its infancy.  We just may not be able to think of our immediacies as something we can change.  

“They could not believe it. They could not believe they would be stripped of their citizenship until it happened. They could not believe their houses of worship would be destroyed unti

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This book was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day.


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Book Review–Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge

launch your dream

So how do you get from just dreaming about what you want from life to actually doing something about it?  Launch Your Dream by Dale Partridge gives you 30 days of activities specifically geared to help you set up your own business and develop a sustainable lifestyle in the process.  This step by step approach will assist you in having it all, including meaningful work, a balanced family life, and adequate income to maintain each aspect.

I have to admit, I highlighted huge sections of the book. There were so many points I wanted to incorporate into my life, that I had to reread the book a second time, paying special attention to the text I had marked.  What stood out for me was the systematic debunking of certain “follow your dream” myths.  The top 10 incorrect beliefs are as follows:

Myth #1

Working for someone else is more stable than being self-employed.

Myth #2

Anyone can work for themselves.

Myth #3

It’s a simple matter of discovering what you are passionate about and doing it.

Myth #4

Self-employment is the gateway to wealth.

Myth #5

Failure should be avoided at all costs.

Myth #6

The number one reason people don’t start their own business is a lack of funds.

Myth #7

Only the young and hip are successful entrepreneurs.

Myth #8

Working for yourself means no more free time.

Myth #9

To be successful, one must be ruthless.

Myth #10

If you build it, they will come.

Once I was convinced that I, too, could become a successful entrepreneur, it was time to break it down into segments.  The bottom line, which totally amazed me, was when looking at your proposed business, or at your current life, you are not the hero, but the guide.  With the self-absorption prevalent in modern society, it takes a bit of a mental stretch to wrap your mind around this concept.  Your purpose in creating a business, any business, is to provide assistance to others so that your customers can triumph.  Your role, whether you provide a physical product or not, is that of service. Starting with this foundation, the sky’s the limit.

Although I’m in the midst of a transition year (See A Room of Her Own), I don’t have a specific business I’d like to open right now.  That’s not to say I haven’t done so in the past (See Failing at your own Business) or will do so again in the future.  Ninety percent of this book, however, could be applied to the growth I would like to see with this blog.  Not necessarily as a source of income (See Failing at your own business–blogging) but as a fountain of knowledge for others.  You may have noticed I have branched out a bit with my topics recently.  Well, expect some more branching to follow.

“Your ultimate goal as an entrepreneur is not to have a successful start-up; your ultimate goal is to live a successful life.  Your goal is to have it all.”–Dave Partridge

five-stars five

See reviews here. Get your copy of this book here. Dave Partridge also runs a business start-up workshop on which this book was based.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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