Thursday, December 30, 2010

"BELLA" by Steve Piacente ~ 5 Star Quality Novel

"A striking widow intent on proving the military lied about her husband's death lures a Washington journalist into the investigation. Working together, they discover the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either." Book Cover Summary

Steve Piacente's first book, "Bella," is a smash hit. He is an author to be reckoned author with his own "voice," and particular charm that I expect we'll soon be hearing much about in reading circles.

"Bella" is a book from a gifted writer, not just an author. It's fast-paced, funny, heart-wrenching, and a little scary.

Mr. Piacente, who is Deputy Communications Director at the U.S. General Services Administration, formerly enjoyed a 25-year career in print journalism. He earned a Masters in Fiction from John Hopkins University in 2000.  I'd say he knows a bit about this story he's telling! 

Written with such a snappy dialogue, quick quips, humor and irony that the pages spark with life. "Bella" is a read that entertains, surprises, and leaves us wanting more.

Piacente's tight, well-sculpted novel has the precision of a plastic surgeon's new face-lift...beautiful and practically flawless! So smooth it speeds along in a momentum of mystery and angst. So peppered with humor that I found myself refusing to stop reading for my mood's sake alone!

The main story honestly captures the essence and repercussions of a young athlete who was killed in Iraq by "friendly fire," and whose death was then "covered up" by the military.

Piacente's use of characterization, plot and description in telling his story are on the mark.

I love his news-jockey/journalist, Dan Patragno, who was sassy and serious, sharing the inner dialogue of a seasoned, wise and jaundice-eyed, investigative reporter. Danny is a loveable character with strengths and rough edges that make me long to know more about him and his journalistic exploits.

In fact, all of Piacente's characters are deftly created: The Bella in question, Isabel Moss, widow of the lost soldier, is an atypical heroine; an understated siren, injured, sexy, intelligent, and desirable as white oleander. A woman we can both learn to relate to and resent. (Sex scenes are tasteful and modern! Says she who detests crudely scribbled attempts otherwise made...)

Danny's buddies Gus and Clay are such odd-men-out, geeky; yet, genius players that we only want more of them! His primary school son, Robin, is a blooming little wisecracker to die for!!

You have to read "Bella," this year because it's a great book. Read it because you don't want to be left off this rising star's first book trail. And, read it because you won't want to miss his other Dan Patragno books which I'm begging him to write.

See Piacente's website: for more specifics on Steve's interesting career and more on "Bella."

Watch a YouTube:

**Reviews on Amazon (including mine!) and ability to purchase on my sidebar.

Hope all of you had a happy Christmas and that your New Year's Resolutions aren't keeping you up nights. I haven't made my list on that, yet. Too busy reading and enjoying time back home this past couple of days.

I want to thank the authors and publishers who have provided me with books for reviews this past years. They know who they are! I have enjoyed the reads, and hope my reviews have mattered.

I especially hope my choices of books to read and review over the past year have meant something to my dear friends and followers.

With warmest regards,

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"The Highest Stakes" A Romping Race and Revenge!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010"The Highest Stakes" A Ride You'll Hold On For!

"Set against the sights, sounds, and excitement of the brand new sport of thoroughbred racing, "The Highest Stakes" is a story of drama, love, and retribution in a world where pedigree is everything and fortunes can be won and lost in the blink of an eye.""From the first day she learned to ride, Charlotte Wallace lived for the freedom that comes from tearing across the heath on one of her uncle's prized stallions. But that freedom is shattered when her uncle makes her the pawn in his bet on a high stakes horse race."

These are the cover descriptions of Emery Lee's extraordinary book, "The Highest Stakes." I'm never one to explain the story of a book, since that's something easily found on the covers or with a nod to the summaries already written. My goal as a reviewer is to tell more about the author's abilities to convey that story, and to give a personal sense of how it translates to the reader.

"The Highest Stakes," is a book that I took a risk on reading. I'm not one who knows horses. Having been completely in the dark about them, I've never grown to appreciate their history or people's attachments to them. But, when I saw Emery Lee's book, it seemed like a good time to jump in and try to see this side of things. I started reading with a jaded mind, I didn't expect to finish the book.

Surprisingly enough, I was mesmorized! Ms. Lee writes about horses, races, breeding horses, and riders as if these things were at the heart of all life. It is captivating! I learned so much about the history of horse racing. The breeding of horses and how they develop a racing horse was so interesting written from Emery's hand, and the training of a race horse became alive and almost sensual. My heart raced when the races were described!

Emery Lee is a highly articulate,intelligent writer. She has an infinite grasp of the English language of the times in which her book takes place and of the entire setting of her story. Her characters are subtle and strong. They are absorbing in their trueness and honesty, and their love of horses. There is a love story at the heart of this novel; however, it is beautifully balanced with the story of the horses as they are entwined.

This is an intelligent book. It is a book to be taken seriously. A book that will teach and thrill, I recommend it especially to those who know and love horses and English stories of the 1700's.

Ms. Lee has a new book which is a sequel to this one coming out in 2011.  Can't wait to get my hands on it!

I apologize for having left off the beautiful cover of Emery's book!  Please go to to see it and, perhaps, to order the book for yourself.  The cover is beautiful, but I'm having issues with downloading pictures at the moment!

Merry Christmas to friends and authors!

Love and hugs, too,

Deb/Your Bookish Dame

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Lake of Dreams" by Kim Edwards ~ Now on Goodreads and

More research reveals a new book by Kim Edwards of "The Memorykeeper's Daughter!"  Oh, my!  My "Outdoing Yourself...Challenge 2011" is getting easier by the moment!!  I need to hop back over and see who else is building their lists....

Can we hope to have as good a novel this time around?  I hope so.  It's always difficult to follow a blockbuster novel, particularly one made into a movie (!!), with a 2nd novel.   I think it's our duty not to set our hopes too  high.   This can really hurt a novelist.
Earlier this year when "Ape House" came out the reviews were all a-swirl about whether the book was as good as "Water for Elephants." Many reviewers and friends of mine were comparing the two and "Ape..." was on the losing side.  It's a shame because the subjects were totally different.  "Ape House" is a stand-alone novel and is a very good one!  Actually, I found it more interesting than "....Elephants," to tell the truth.  But poor Sara Gruen had to suffer through that 2nd Novel Syndrome.

Here's the summary of "The Lake of Dreams" that Goodreads is showing:

"With revelations that prove as captivating as the deceptions at the heart of her bestselling phenomenon The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards now gives us the story of a woman's homecoming, a family secret, and the old house that holds the key to the true legacy of a family.
At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade ago. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, as she paces the hallways of her family's rambling lakeside house, she discovers, locked in a window seat, a collection of objects that first appear to be useless curiosities, but soon reveal a deeper and more complex family past.
As Lucy discovers and explores the traces of her lineage - from an heirloom tapestry and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows throughout upstate New York - the family story she has always known is shattered. Lucy's quest for the truth reconfigures her family's history, links her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yields dramatic insights that embolden her to live freely.
With surprises at every turn, brimming with vibrant detail, The Lake of Dreams is an arresting saga in which every element emerges as a carefully place piece of the puzzle that's sure to enthrall the millions of readers who loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter."

I'm holding out hope that this new work is as good as her first, that it's different, and that it holds its own.  Certainly sounds like it!

Let me know what you're thinking...

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

YA Fiction 2011: "WARPED" by Maurissa Guibord ~ Pre-order

Since one of my new resolutions for 2011 is to read more YA fiction, I'm claiming this book as one for my "Outdoing Yourself Reading Challenge."

Can you get over how gorgeous the cover is? Children these days are simply so beautiful, it's breathtaking. There's something about their awareness of themselves and the world around them that makes them different than the children of my timeframe and even of my childrens' times. (My children now being in their 30's) I say all of this because...just look at this girl on the cover. Those are knowing eyes!

The reference to weaving drew me in, as well. I'm a needlewoman and have been for nearly 50 years. I adore French tapestries. This one featured in part on the cover is from The Unicorn Tapestries...The Unicorn in Captivity, to be exact, which is now housed in NYC at The Cloisters. A whole discussion in and of itself.

Should you wish to know more about these stunning tapestries, here is a link to Fordham in NYC, which has information and pictures.    Though this may be a slight side trip off the track of the's one probably more worthwhile than anything else in the long run.  Says she, the art historian.  Sorry.... :]

In a nutshell, you see the whole concept of the book, then, given to you just on the cover of the book. "Warped" the term often used in tapestry work...the weave in making of the tapestry is a process of warp and woof. The warp is the first part that's laid in a loom.....the strings that are stretched the length of the loom. The "woof" which is the old expression or the "weft" which is newer...are the horizontal threadings that will be made through the warp. The cover further reads, "Tessa's life is about to unravel." So, the warp and the woof are not secure.

This is a book written by Maurissa Guibord who seems to be either French or of some part French heritage. She has to be vastly aware of these particular tapestries... interestingly enough. She's given us significant symbolic information about her book.  Probably of where she even got her basic ideas for the book, altogether!

Without reading the summary that will be given below. We can pretty much surmise that poor Tessa will be stretched to the inth of her abilities to survive her coming of age experiences. I suspect that she will meet a young man (her unicorn) who is illusive to most people, except to herself...because a unicorn can only be tamed by a young virgin, after all. And, this young man must be pursued by those who want to hurt him or jail him for some reason. I'm guessing....

I can't wait to read this book which I understand will be out sometime in January, 2011, just in time for my Book List!

Here's the summary I took from Goodreads:

" Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in.  When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy. "

Please look on my sidebar if you'd like to check to pre-order or just see more about this book.  Even if you order for your Kindle, I'll get credit!! Thanks....  :]

Have fun! I can't wait to hear what you'll be reading. Please leave me a note.

Hope you're enjoying Christmas lights in your neighborhoods right about now!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

One of the most beloved of classical American literature, "The Scarlet Letter," is a novel and also letter of sorts written to all of us; a warning and a love letter from the hand of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the brilliant and gifted writer from New England who lived and worked not far away from the streets and times of which he sets his novel.  

Hawthorne lived in the Sudbury area of Massachusetts, not more than a couple of hours inland from the Plymouth Colony.  He was a contemporary of Walden and Alcott.  A spiritual man, but not a "religious" one, Hawthorne also wrote short stories.  One of his most famous short stories (which you can download free from Gutenberg Press) is called "Young Goodman Brown," another morality tale that will live long in your heart and mind.

"The Scarlet Letter," is Hawthorne's best known and beloved work.  It takes place in a MA Colony in the Puritan times.

Hester Pryne, the misbehaving woman who is ruled to wear the scarlet letter "A" (in question) for adultress, is beautiful, strong-minded and more admirable than most of the Puritans who blame and shun her. She is an honest woman caught in the web of star-crossed-love-gone-adrift, because her lover and father of her bastard child is the colony preacher! Hester does all she can to protect him and he does all he can to withstand his guilt and to find peace of heart and spirit in a Puritan society shifted so far afield that no one can see the truth or the good for the "letter" of the Law.

"The Scarlet Letter" is a deeply moving love story, but it is also a story of fear and distortion. It's a story of what can, and probably did, happen in a world where reason is set aside and mass hysteria takes over...where common sense mixed with spiritual insight is dashed by strict adherence to the law without compassion.

Those who have never read this book have missed a part of the American experience. I hope if you are one of those people, you will correct that situation soon and for your better good!

I first read it in 1967, and have reread it many times since then with new insights and pleasures every time. I even have a granddaughter named Pearl, after Hester's little treasure and my grandmother!   Pearl, the wild and free-spirited child who was honest and one with nature and God...the precious one.
This book has gone through so many re-issues and so many covers that I couldn't take up all the space showing them here.  The last is an interesting one to me because we now find it in the latest "Manga Edition" which is written by Adam Sexton and Yali Lin.  Even in 2010, more than 100 years after its original publication, this classic is being interpreted for America's young and old, and for the Nations, too.  Amazing and wonderful!


PS:   I have to add that as I was studying Women's Studies in College in the late 1980's, "The Scarlet Letter" was a book that came to my mind.  Hester Pryne was a strong woman role model.  She seemed to me to be the best in a feminist example.  I think she must have affected young women as such when the book was first published. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"The Last Train from Paris" ~ A Love Story of WWII

Saturday, December 4, 2010   

"The Last Train from Paris"~Love, Art and Parisian Patriots in WWII

A novel about Paris, not just the beautiful "City of the Lights," but a city captured and terrorized in the grip of a hostile German army in WWII, this is a book I couldn't help dying to read. I love Paris above all European cities, and my heart just stops at the thought of anyone destroying a single piece of its architecture or fine arts.

So, I could hardly wait to tell you that this book will leave you breathless and pensive. From the very first paragraphs you will be taken in to the epic story of lovers and liars, artists and anti-heros...

Stacy Cohen paints with a gentle hand and delft stokes the story of an occupied Paris that is so confined and crippled that you feel the constraints of it as you read. We come to know and love favored contemporary artists Miro and the grumpy but irrepressible Matisse, who take under wing the talented but fledgling young artist, Jean Luc Beauchamp.

Jean Luc becomes the hero of this story as we follow his passions of art, true love for a beautiful Russian ballerina with a secret, and love of Paris...all elements of the human story and the battle of good vs. evil. Ms Cohen also provides us a German Oberst officer villian to heat up the struggles. He's interesting, darkly intriguing and easy to hate.

A novel that will set you adrift into another time, "The Last Train for Paris," will catch you up in a story that will rush over your heart and bring you to tears. It is a story that will create a righteous indignation about the savaging of the arts, and the art thefts of WWII. And, it is a novel that will remain with you should you visit Paris or when you think of its beauty and many treasures.

Hopefully, you will never find yourself taking the last train from Paris...but always going toward Paris. It is the most beautiful and mysterious of European cities. Just like cities all over the world in these times and in the past, it is worthy of our concerns and protection.

I'm grateful to Ms Cohen for reminding me of that. It took many brave hearts in the Resistance to liberate Paris and France from a hostile enemy. Theirs is a story that is beautifully rendered in "The Last Train from Paris."

Highly recommended and timely.

Since Ms Cohen is a most admirable woman in every respect,  I wanted to add this very interesting information about her for you:
"Stacy Cohen, author, philanthropist, and life-style consultant continues to bring her passion for love and life to everything she does.  With her first novel, she creates a distinct voice that combines her passions for art, history, and the undying power of love....
In the world of international philanthropy, she has been a tireless advocate of children, including her support of Camp Okizu, the largest camp in Northern California for children and their families affected by cancer.  She has raised hundreds of thousands for children's hospitals and funded a special performance by the Russian National Orchestra in support of Russian orphans, bringing her love for children and her passion for the arts full circle."
Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Friday, December 3, 2010

Book Blogger Hop ~ Friday, December 3, 2010

The Hop is on from Dec. 3 - 6th, 2010!

Come join us from Crazy For Books new book blog. We newbies are trying to stick together and get a good following of friends for our blogs! Not to mention that it's fun to have and answer the Hop questions...

Go to the Crazy-For-Books site to join the Hop.

Here's information about it, as well:

"In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list...!!"

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!! " (You have to go to Crazy's blog to see this list!!)

This week's question comes from Marce who blogs at Tea Time With Marce :

"What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?"

This is difficult to confess, but I did not enjoy Laurell K. Hamilton's last book "A Lick of Frost." I'm ordinarily an LKH fan...I like her Anita books and her first Merry books, too. But, she started getting too hinky for me. I'm not a prude by any stretch so you can't confuse me with that issue, but I wanted more story and less strange tail/tale...if you get my drift.  ;j   Btw, I never reviewed the books. I did read them, though.

Here's the whole collection of that Merredith Gentry series by LK Hamilton that you can find on Amazon...see my sidebar, just in case you want to read it. Different (dare it say it!) strokes for different folks!! :P

I'm passing this question on to my friend in newness: Crystal Jewell
at Crystals Reading Corner.
Please go check out her very beautiful and interesting blog, she'll be happy you did!

I hope you'll also be a follower of mine. I promise to follow up with you, stop by your blog and become a follower of your blog, as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Midnight in the Land of "Twilight!"

"What if Bella had a little sister? What if after Bella married Edward and was changed, her sister moved to Forks? In this story all of that happens. In this story there is even a love triangle for Bella’s sister Arabella. Seth Clearwater who was once a minor character now comes to the forefront. Seth begins to fall in love with Arabella and she falls for him. But, Arabella also falls in love with the Cullen's newest family member Cyrus Hale. Arabella must choose who she will love. ... "

Oh, my! This could be a very intriguing series, couldn't it?? I'm reading this new, self-published little volume put out on BookRix which is a wonderful site for downloading such books.

One of my first YA novels reviewed on this site, I hope to return to you with a review that will at least put a buzzzzzz in your ears!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about this idea of spintering off of "Twilight." :]

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Swallow This!!

Tanya Plank is a fantastic writer of the young, priviledged, slightly disturbed and disoriented New York professionals. She's the voice of the over-educated, preppie, ivy-leagued-to-the-max, "now what do I do to one-up everyone" generation. She "gets it" and she's telling!!   LOL

I thought her author's voice--her book was hilarious and riveting! It helps to know these Harvard-types she writes about, but I think anyone can understand a pompous person when they see or hear one...or read about them. Her characterizations are golden. Sophie, the swallower in question, is a loveable and genuine young woman for whom I immediately took a liking. I was on her side right away and kept by her like a glove to her hand throughout her struggles and humorous/humiliating revelations.

Tanya is right on in her dialog and descriptions; particularly in her scene at the fancy art show with Sophie's fiance's Harvard friend, Alana. Oooo, as slick and slimy as they come in a tightly wrapped ivy package. As well as with Sophie's own would-be friend, Samia, who keeps referencing herself and Sophie as "when you're young," as if to say she is now so mature and beyond it all--and that living and working in New York for even a short time has jaded and matured them like hot house roses....which it may, in fact, have done. At the very least it's caused Sophie to choke, hasn't it?

It's caused Sophie to revisit a childhood dysfunction...a fist-sized ball (FB) that blocks her esophagus and causes her to choke, actually not being able to swallow anything but tiny bits of food, drink or even her own saliva. Sophie is struck again by her swallowing FB shortly after her boyfriend proposes, and prior to a big Public Defender's Office advocacy case that she must orally present before a presumably hostile, multiple Justice panel.

Sophie is diagnosed with a psychological problem called Globus Sensate, but not before it has run amock within the strictly held confines of her fragile life. Sophie's secrets of the pornographer father, the wacky sister who pops in to humiliate and horrify...and the fiance' who can't believe his eyes, ears and understanding about the FB!!!...all make for a fun ride!!

I loved Tanya Plank's book. I loved NYC through the eyes of the Arizona girl and the Yalie mix. I loved the story through the words of a choking, swallowing dysfunctional lawyer!!! LOL What could be better than the image of a poor lawyer who can bearly talk for choking on her words! (with apologies to my sons)

This is a wild and fun romp full of satire, symbolism and insight into the lives of the educationally priviledged and spoiled vs the "real" people. It's a look into the workings of the public defender's life and the big city lawyer's mindset. It's a glance at the young bucks and brave girls who come to Town with all the credentials and hautier but missing some of the heart and raw bones of real life. And, a look at the other young "brave ones" who come hoping to make a difference against some mighty odds that aren't in their favor.

This is a book that's easy to swallow. Though, I have to admit, I suffered with Sophie when she was having problems swallowing. I felt myself closing up. I found myself putting my hand to my throat and getting a smothering feeling and practicing swallowing, myself. That's how good Tanya Plank is at writing!

You have to get this book. Ms Plank is going to be heard from again, and you're going to be listening and loving her!! Just like I do.

Oh, that this was a swallow!!!  Tanya would be tap-dancing her way to success!

Your Bookish Dame

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

"Blackbird"  by The Beatles ~  Jaimie's and Chynna's favorite song

Having struggles and successes with a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder is an exhausting and bittersweet battle. Chynna Laird's book offers messages of both hope and a sense of "you're not alone in this" to the reader who seeks more enlightenment on this somewhat obscure and misunderstood problem called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or Sensory Integration Disorder.

Often mislabeled in the categories of autism, Asbergers, or even "gifted," SPD is a neurological or genetic problem that a child manifests as early as infancy, and which may be progressive up to later years if it's not discovered and facilitated for the child's health and well-being.

The Disorder is often recognized when a child fails to make eye contact, withdraws from or rejects human contact of any kind including being picked up and hugged even by parents, exhibits hyperactive or underactive behaviors at different times, has a multitude of issues with clothing, fine motor skills, eating foods, smells and noises, making transitions, and going into the outside world in general.

It is amazing to me how Ms Laird even had a moment's time to write her book! Her precious daughter, Jaimie, has a severe case of SPD requiring nearly constant care and intervention. But her dedication to her daughter, her family of 3 other children, her husband, the therapists and doctors and teachers who worked in tandem to reach her child...and to families who may feel isolated as they wonder what is wrong with their child and how to find help, gifted her with what has to be a Herculean strength to set down a lighted path for others. She is to be highly commended for her efforts and her love to all concerned.

This is a book for parents, family members, teachers and professional care-givers. It's a word of instruction as well as a word of caution and hope. It's a book that deserves a hardback edition and much more press!

The only thing I found missing in all her suggestions to parents was an urging to take care of themselves! Strangely enough, Ms Laird doesn't mention taking time out to refresh, recoup and relax so one can be ready to meet the challenges a child with SPD presents. Of all the suggestions...I think this should be high on the list. In her writings about recognizing and finding help for Jaimie, she doesn't mention having taken time for herself or with her husband and other children apart from Jaimie. As a mother who had gifted children who demanded my attention in a similar fashion; that is, they weren't on the average track of most children, I found this advice sadly absent from Chynna's book because I know how important it is.

I hardily recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject matter, in seekers of "what's wrong with my child," as well as for therapists interested in a teaching tool for parents of SPD children.
It would prove an interesting read for parents who may have a child with SPD being integrated into their own child's classroom. And, if you are an adult with such issues as described above, you may want to read this comprehensive book. I found it most helpful in many respects!

Deb/Your Bookish Dame
For more information from Chynna Laird and about SPD visit her at her blog:

*Additionally, please read the comments left by Chynna to all of you and me recently, after she read my review:

Hi Deborah! Thanks so very much both for reading "Not Just Spirited" as well as for your wonderful post about it. I appreciate your support so much. I thought I would drop by and comment. =)

First of all I just wanted to talk a bit more about SPD in case any of your readers had questions. The nervous system has the very important job of taking in sensory messages from the environment through the various sensory systems then turning them into appropriate sensory, behavioral and motor responses. SPD interferes with this 'sensory processing' and the messages, then, aren't understood or processed properly causing what Dr. A. Jean Ayres (who discovered SPD and began the important reasearch on the disorder) described as a 'traffic jam' in the brain. In a nutshell, this means that children and adults living with SPD aren't able to interact with or respond to things or people in their environments appropriately because their brains aren't able to 'read' the messages from the sensory organs and, therefore, can't tell the body how to react to sensory stimuli effectively.

The symptoms you listed are what we noticed in Jaimie. These are not 'typical' of all children who have SPD as each child has a unique form of the disorder and will, therefore, display different symptoms. Jaimie's form of SPD is considered on the more severe side of things because all 7 of her sensory systems are affected and deals with tremendous anxiety because of that. She is in therapy now and is coping much better.

Another point is that many of the symptoms are 'comorbid' with other conditions (that just means that there are symptoms that resemble those in other conditions) such as Autism, Asperger's or ADHD. And, as you mentioned, there are gifted children who also display certain traits of SPD. Having SPD doesn't necessarily mean these individuals have the other conditions--only an appropriate professional can determine this.

What's important to mention is that if caregivers suspect their child struggles with sensory issues, they should seek the assistance of a trained professional who understands sensory processing, SPD and knows how to assess and diagnose it properly. I cannot stress enough how important that is. Find someone who will listen and guide you to the RIGHT resources!!

For more information about SPD, including finding a therapist close to you, please go to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation's website ( This is the main portal for anyone wanting more information or direction for helping their child or loved one.

And on a sidenote, I thank you so much for mentioning the importance of parents taking that "Me Time". I do not discuss this in the book as much as I should have (and that's because I was so focused on helping JAIMIE first) but readers will truly understand WHY you need it after reading our story. I now write many articles on the importance of taking that time to recharge, regroup and get back in touch with ourselves and ways you can do it. VERY VERY important.

I hope this helps to clarify a few things and I welcome your readers to check out both my website as well as my blog ( feel free to contact me through either. I also have a Facebook page for the book that your readers are more than welcome to join, chat and share.

Thank you for participating in this blanket book tour.


Chynna Laird.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Southern Writers and Okra Picks Challenge

If you haven't already heard about it, I'm delighted to tell you about the Souther Writers "Okra Picks Challenge." 

Please click on the headline above to find out all about this Challenge which was inspired and founded by Southern authors, themselves!  And, I for one am glad they  thought of it!

I have to admit to a favoritism for Southern writers. There's just something about their gothic vision, their love of the grotesque, family secrets, dark arts, legends, mysteries, old customs and humor that's based in the roots of our people. I love Southerners and those who write about them and all their idiosyncracies. Anyone remember "A Rose for Emily," by William Faulkner? That's the best short story I've ever read to date!

Here's a link to "...Emily" just in case you want to read or reread it:

At any rate, this blog entry has to do with the great Challenge (not Oprah but Okra...thanks be to God!) having to do with reading until March, 2011. Such fun! Follow the link at the beginning to find about it in detail.

We have to list the books we've chosen to read from a suggested list of fiction and non-fiction of recently published books.
I'm reading the following:

This might be the only novel, novel I'm reading that's for the storytelling.  I'm expecting it to be one that captures my interest like a Pat Conroy novel did.  We'll see....

Oh, yeah!  A real Southern, downhome gothic, and grotesque novel about a Louisiana family with all the gusto that comes with weirdness and strangeness!  Just my cup of tea!

This one really got my attention: stories of celebrated musicians and famous people who came to Nashville and why they came in the first place!

I can never resist a Kathy Reichs forensics novel! She's just awesome and frightenly good at what she does.  What a talented author, doctor and tv advisor!

Pat Conroy's story of how books saved him in a life of hardtimes.

I hope you'll join us.  I'd love to see what you've chosen and to keep following up with you as you review and talk about why the books chose you!

Bye for now, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving,

Your Bookish and Southern Dame/  Deborah

Miami Book Fair 2010

Miami's Bicardi's Building

This was such fun yesterday!  DH and I walked for miles, ate so many different things I felt like the proverbial child whose mommy tells her she's going to have a stomach ache, and touched hundreds of books!  We saw and listened to talks by authors...of "The Postmistress,"  "Major Pettigrew...,"  "Something Red,"  "Swan Thieves," and even ran across Jonathan Franzen and Susan Cheever, who has just written a book "Louisa May Alcott, a Biography."  

DH went with me for my sake as a "date day," and decided he wasn't going to miss next year and wanted to plan to get a hotel room for several days so we could hear more authors!!  How's that for a success story!

Miami was just gorgeous.  I haven't been to the city in years, so was very shocked at how beautiful the skyline is.  The architecture is stunning:  contemporary, artistic, shimmering mirror glass with structures of steel polished or smoothe...daring and dramatic.  Miami is a new city and proud of it.  New, big homes crowd the waterways with boat docks and beautiful, interesting boats.  The harbor is crowded with gigantic cruise ships of every variety and taste....streamers, colorful side painted logos, huge fins on top, and glimmering decks of windowed cabins.

There's such a mix of people from the wealthy cuban immigrants, new poor immigrants with multiple children, Muslims, Anglos, Americans (I mean those of us who have been here and integrated for more than 100 years!), and the horribly destitute and  homeless. 

We were horrified to see groups of the homeless like we've never seen before just a couple of blocks away from the Fair lining the wire fences of a car lot.  They were sitting on blankets, wrapped in blankets or cardboard boxes, or just sitting on the hot concrete while we circled in our Mercedes looking for a place to park.  DH and I felt the shock and the guilt of seeing them like a  hot wave of sickness.  He kept say, "Just look at them.  They're homeless.  I've never seen anything like this!" I was ashamed of our car.  I felt like I had intruded on if I were invading their privacy...or desecrating their souls by just passing by them as if they were chosen for such a trial in life and I wasn't worthy.   It was a feeling like I've never known except when I've visited the dying.

As we left the City to come home last night, I think we both carried so many things with us.  I only bought one book..."Something Red," by Jennifer Gilmore, which I can't wait to read and review for you.  A new vision of Miami the City and its people.  I found a reawakening of love for authors I already loved.  And, a renewed sense of the homeless and poor in our country.  I also was confronted head-on with that dilemma of Muslims who reside in America and how to feel about the whole thing.  And, I left with that touch of wide-eyed, child-like joy of having been completely absorbed in books and bookish people for hour upon hour.  I also have a logo mug for my coffee!!  :]

It was a wonderful day that I still need to absorb and sort out.

Let me know what you think.  And, what's your favorite pair of shoes???

Your Bookish Dame/Deb

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Interested in Readings

Please just click on the title above to read my reviews of these two books.   I'm sorry not to give the full ones here!
Did I say, "I'm sorry," ???
Your Bookish Dame

What a darling book for 'tweeners! Theodosia is just the most precocious little girl who lives in a museum with her absent-minded curator/researcher of a father and a motley crew of others. Her mother is an archeologist who moves in and out of her life, bringing new, interesting and dangerous things into their lives. Theodosia  is the most awake and aware of the dangers seeping into the bowels of the museum, of course, and she's bountifully to the rescue!

I loved Theodosia and her funny smart and Nancy Drew on ritalin. I can't wait for my little granddaughters to get old enough for Grammie to send them Theodosia mysteries!

And, here's a secret...Grammie liked reading this book on her own. I may be checking back with Theodosia to see what else comes into the museum that she needs to take care of!

Bookish friends, you have to find copies of this little's absolutely perfect!   I'm talking to you, Vonna...and Katie!


Deb/Your Bookish Dame

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Dragon House" A Heartwarming and Healing Novel ~ and Giveaway

"Dragon House" is a fabulous book, a heartwarming novel of love, restoration, healing and dreams come true.

John Shors has become one of my favorite authors of the 21st century. I believe he is the voice of our recent past, and a voice of the humanity in all of us as we struggle to keep what is good and moral against a tide of selfishness and instability in our world.

Mr. Shors is an author of exceptional capabilities with characterization conveying feelings and angst that will so touch your heart that you feel actually set within the place and time with his characters.

Having lived through the Viet Nam War as a child of the '60's, I found this book especially interesting. I have not been able to read about the War, per se. It was a time of loss and anger and confusion for me. A time I just haven't cared to scrutinize. But, this book gave me a way of "looking" that was thoughtful, caring and healing.

Through the eyes of Iris, the daughter of a Viet Nam veteran left with post traumatic stress syndrome and memories he could only heal by going back to create a home for street children; we see, hear, smell and feel the thriving, messy, whirling, beautiful, dangerous and noisy place called Ho Chi Minh City -- formerly Siagon. I found many of the things surprisingly familiar to me...through pictures that were flashed daily on the t.v. when our boys were over there, I suppose. I could see through Shors writings the brightness of colors, smell the food, hear the horn blasts, and shiver at the sufferings. John Shors didn't miss a beat.

Iris goes to Viet Nam to continue her father's dream and to help the street children, bringing with her a life-long friend...a now wounded, permanently handicapped vet. of the Iraqi War, who is suffering and suicidal. This character boldly gives the reader insight into all veterans returning with injuries of body, mind and spirit from the horrors of war. Along with an eternally hopeful Vietnamese woman, they work to complete the Center for Street Children that will become the catalyst for their own salvations.

Through their work, inspiration, and close companionships with a little group of starving, abused and critically ill children, Iris and Noah find a new place of rest for all. And, that included me.

I highly recommend this book for all and everyone. John Shors is an author who needs to be read because he will be one to make a mark in these coming years. He's an American writer of note and value.

I also recommend this book because it's good for those of us who have come through the Viet Nam War (a war not successful and not popular with the American people) and are going through the Iraqi/Afghani War...another one which may have a similar outcome. We might find some solace in the fact that we will survive. Timely and healing.... please read this book for many reasons.

Your Bookish Dame

PS:     Please go to my other blog listed above for a GIVEAWAY!!!!  You'll see all the details there... :]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beautifully Written Story of 9/11 Muslim-American Widow "Saffron Dreams"

Shaila Abdullah has written a beautiful and inspiring story about a Muslim-American young woman caught in the horrific web of tragedy of 9/11's World Trade Center disaster.  This book has changed my perspective on who suffered....not only Americans, but other nationalities and immigrant-Americans, as well.

"Saffron Dreams," is about letting go and learning to live despite every challenge life brings. It's about the strength of women and relationships. It's about the experience of women left behind in the 9/ll Twin Towers/World Trade Center terrorist attack. And, it's about the Muslim woman's experience in America. It's also about what immigrants have to leave behind and let go of when they choose to become a part of a new country and people. ...a letting go to gain something else of value.

Ms Abdullah has a big order to fill, and she comes shining through like a bird of paradise! I loved this book for so many reasons, it will be difficult to convey them to you, so you'll ultimately just have to read the book for yourself to understand. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a novel and not a memoir...looking back again and again at the gorgeous cover and searching the eyes of the beautiful Pakistani woman for clues of the inner soul of such a writer.

The main character, Arissa, is a young woman who was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. After having survived a home of material wealth and non-existent maternal love, Arissa becomes wed in a traditional "arranged marriage." Surprisingly, this marriage is to a young man she had previously met on a trip to New York visiting relatives! Fortune seemed to be with them from the beginning. On the flip side of that fortune, however, rests a bad omen flung at them by a seer woman who predicts that the young husband will dance with fire. Arissa and Faizan also have dreams of flames and smoke, but set these things aside and ignore them. Of course, these omens find their fulfillment as Faizan is killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

We learn along the way such interesting information as Muslim life in the everyday workings of the kitchen cookery (recipes are included), the different meanings of the veils the women wear, the landscape and gardens of Pakistan, and the role saffron plays in the life of Arissa. I will never look at or smell Night Blooming Jasmine in quite the same way again. Arissa is an artist, writer, observer of the world, and faithful woman. Her agony is quietly and honestly shared with us.

Ms Abdullah knows grief and heartbreak. Her novel tells us truly the pain of loss and the redemptive qualities that keep one living despite them. I was widowed at a young age with young children so I speak from experience, when I say that this book conveys the feelings and experiences I had so profoundly and gently that it was shocking to me. I was moved by Ms Abdullah's gift for giving life to her characters.

I learned that women and widows are the same no matter what their religion or culture. I learned that not all Muslims are terrorists. I knew that children can save you, but was delighted to see that Arissa found that gift. That family can hold you up but can't save you. It was good to know that somebody else unknown to you can have the same experiences and live to tell about it.

Please do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book. It will help you know how it feels to be a widow of the 9/11 attack.... It is a gorgeous and poetic book with an abundance of truth and beauty for everyone who loves fine literature.

I  hope you will share your thoughts with me whether you decide to read this book or not.  I have to say that it has been very difficult for me to pick up a book about and/or written by a Muslim woman because of my feelings about 9/11.   In this case, I'm so glad I did.

With greatest affection,

Your Bookish Dame

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No, I Did Not Just Read There Are 53 Days Until Christmas!!!

Pleeezzzeee! I'm hardly over Halloween and I just can't think of Christmas, yet.  My pumpkin is still sitting on my kitchen center island uncarved... Little grands did get their annual care packages for Halloween from Grammie and Granpop, though, and they were tickled with parts and pieces of that.  So, we did have a happy one!

My new handcrafted, designed and created~one of a kinds, by "Talis Bijoux," is up and running and I'm so thrilled.  Jessica and I have put hours of work and emotional effort into the venture.  Mostly, I've had to begin to let go of my art work, which has always been difficult for me.  Lots of heart and soul goes into it, and it's always been fascinating to me  how the whole creative process just takes over my mind and's very out-of-body, to those of you who've not experienced it.

If you get a chance in the next week, it would be so good of you to visit my new website at:     It's in its infancy right at the moment.  I need to download pictures and start from scratch with things, so there will be nothing on there except the welcome right now.   I should have some pictures up by the 12th or so.   Thanks in advance for coming by!

I also have a new book blog that I'm really happy about.  It's addy is:   Very lonely over there at the please come visit me.  It's just up this past week and I'm trying so hard to get things running.  I'll be doing lots of book reviews there for new and up-and-coming authors, as well as my regular reading lists of books.   Also, haven't abandoned my very practical book blog at:   either.  Except this one will be having more of the extreme books from now on instead of the mainstream books of my ordinary reading.  I've found some interest in new lines of thinking that authors are developing, and I'd like to explore talking about things like "steampunk" and where it all started and what's happening with the trend in our current world, as well as other ways art and fashion affect authors and our reading material, and vice versa.  I hope there will be more video and pictures on that site in the future, of things having to do with books as well as reviews and lists.

So, that's me in the coming year!   See, that's why I don't have time to think about Christmas this year....  "]
He's still not made into a Santa stand and he's been finished for at least 5 years!!!  Oh, man!!

Happy (fast approaching) Holiday Wishes,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paints for Grandgirls

I've been making my own Summer Smoothies...with a bit of champagne included in the evenings while I read. No wonder I've been reading, you say???? :P

Painted doll furniture and bird houses my friend, Darlene, and I made for my granddaughter, Amelia's 9th birthday this month. We had such fun.

I'm back. It's only been months and apologies are in order; however, nothing has been going on in the stitching department. Only reading and finding and exchanging and searching out books and finding bookish friends has been happening lately. :]
I've not even been writing on my Bound To Be Bookish blog, though.

It's been a good break. Sometimes we just find ourselves burned out of one thing or another. It's nice to get a fresh new perspective and a new journalistic slant.

Visiting old friends' blogs will be lots of fun, so expect to see a note from me here and there!

Hope you've enjoyed the pictures attached.

Love and hugs and warmest "hello's" to friends one and all!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Scattering of Odd Pictures

There are lots of goodies to see here. All except stitching because I'm nearing the finish of several pieces and I don't want to show them, yet!
The books below are some new ones I've just downloaded (cheaply! Love it!)from my "Stella" Kindle...and synced with "Brindle" (named that for=best friend's kindle).
I believe I told Nicole if I eventually get a Nook, I'd have to name her "Newella." It's a cross between "new" and a reminder of "Stella," but also "Cruella," because it would just be cruel if I have to purchase another one just to get a portable library ebook carrier!!! Oh, well.... Anyway, the following are some of the new books I'm adding on my Summer Vampire Reading List. :] See the Amazon link to the side here if you want to read reviews on these books...

I want to introduce you to Elaine's and my dear friend, Darlene. She is the other friend of Elaine's who helped take care of her throughout all the times over the past several years. We were a fast and close threesome. Darlene is doing a good job of keeping me pasted together these days...and I think I help her, too. We miss Elaine an awful lot. She still seems to be around fact I've had a "visit." If you want more information on that, you'll have to email me privately.

I'm adding this humorous one because here I am looking like something the cat dragged in and responding to a man who's just randomly come up to say how happy and "pretty" I look cooking there for everyone....and, my friend, Evonna is standing to my side wearing the itsy bitsy bikini. Which girl was he really admiring???!!! :P

Clara on the beach at Sanibel Island. She and "daddy" were having an outing.

This is my youngest son, David, with his new son and my baby grand, David John. He is little brother to Jack, who is only 2 1/2 himself. We're just thrilled to have him! They tell me he has red hair! I love that! David John's beautiful mother, Adrianne, has strawberry blond hair... :]

Friday, June 18, 2010

Foodies Unite!!

I am so tired and hot and hungry. We went to Bocca de Beppo's for a late night dinner and sat with friends in the kitchen of the restaurant. It was still warm...but it was so much fun!

The End!