Thursday Book Feature: Love the Beat Goes On

Love the Beat Goes On
by Lynda Filler
Copyright 2017

This is not about Sonny and Cher, although I thought it was when I first glimpsed the title. In this short memoir, author and photographer Lynda Filler discusses her diagnosis of cardiomyopathy in 2008 and how she miraculously recovered. She starts by detailing events leading up to her diagnosis including but not limited to her experience with online dating following several failed marriages, her move from Canada to Mexico, where she lived for several years, and her return to Canada. She then describes her symptoms and how she came to be diagnosed and told to get her affairs in order because she didn’t have long to live. She then outlines her path to healing and subsequent recovery, providing tips to others suffering from the same malady. She often claims not to be a medical expert and encourages readers to follow the advice given by their own doctors. The book includes resources.

I felt two connections with this book. First of all, my father was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy about the same time as Lynda Filler. Second, my brother and his first wife honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, during the 1990’s, at probably about the same time Lynda Filler was living there. Although I found her description of her healing process interesting, I was, and still am, skeptical. If this book had been released in 2008 when my father was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, he might have benefited, although I doubt he would have read it.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Cottage by the Sea

Cottage by the Sea
by Debbie Macomber
Copyright 2018.

After losing most of her family as a result of a mud slide near Seattle, Annie retreats to the seaside village where her family rented a cottage for several summers. By a miraculus twist of fate, she is able to rent that same cottage. A physician’s assistant, she finds a job at the local clinic. In her quest for healing, she affects the lives of a shy six-foot artist with whom she falls in love, her reclusive landlady, a teen-ager with an abusive stepfather, and other characters, all needing relief from their troublesome burdens.

I’ve always enjoyed Debbie Macomber’s work, and Cottage by the Sea didn’t disappoint me, but there are a couple of things I don’t like about this and other books she has written. First of all, the author uses way too much unnecessary narrative. As I’ve said before, it’s better to show and not tell, and too much narrative bogs a story down. Another thing I don’t like is her use of adverbs. It’s always better to use a stronger verb, and in the case of dialog, what a person says should speak for itself without the adverb. Because Debbie Macomber tells such heartwarming stories that make me feel good, I’m willing to put up with these pitfalls.

That said, Cottage by the Sea was a great end-of-summer read for me. According to the author’s note at the beginning, a mud slide near Seattle actually happened several years ago. I like the way this author uses real-life events to tell a compelling story. I also appreciate her not including descriptions of sex. There are better ways to show two characters in love like kissing, hugging, hand holding, and body language. Sex scenes are unnecessary and bog a story down.

I downloaded this book from Audible, and it was hard to put down. The narrator did an excellent job portraying each character. Although one minor plot detail could have been handled differently, I found the ending very satisfying. If you don’t have time or enough money to retreat to a seaside village, I suggest you read this book instead. You’ll be refreshed.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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The Healing Voice

Sunlight streams in through large windows

of the room where we sit,

some like me in wheelchairs,

others on couches, in armchairs,

a few with walkers in front of them.

Some shout, cry, wander, fight.

Others, like me, watch the passing world.

The television talks–no one listens.

 

Then she appears, guitar in hand,

asks if we’re ready for some music.

TV silent, she stands,

strums the guitar, sings favorite songs,

knows our names.

Nothing else matters when her voice

fills each corner of the room.

I love to sing,

wish she would stay forever.

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I recently received word that the above poem won second place in a contest sponsored by Magnets and Ladders, an online magazine featuring work by authors with disabilities. It will appear in the fall/winter issue. Click below to hear me read it.

 

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

Review: Sweet Tomorrows

Sweet Tomorrows

by Debbie Macomber

Copyright 2016.

 

This is the last of the author’s Rose Harbor Inn series. Jo Marie, the proprietor of the Inn at Rose Harbor, has been in love for three years with Mark, her handyman and formerly a military officer. A year earlier, Mark leaves on a dangerous mission in Iraq which Jo Marie doesn’t know about until after he’s gone. When she hasn’t heard from him in over a year, she assumes he died at the hands of terrorists and goes on with her life. She meets Greg and develops a relationship with him. She then learns that Mark is still alive, and she’s torn between the two men. Mark must also decide which is more important, Jo Marie or his career.

Then there’s the story of Emily, a teacher starting a new job in the fall at a local elementary school. She rents a room at the inn on a weekly basis through the summer months while looking for a place of her own. Having been jilted twice, she has given up on love until she meets Nick, the owner of a nearby house she wants to buy. She must decide if her heart is worth the risk of a third break.

I downloaded this book from Audible, and the narrator, who reads all the books in this series, does an excellent job as usual. I love the way she portrays each character and the way Debbie Macomber tells each character’s story from his/her point of view. The author’s reading of her introductory letter at the beginning of the book adds a nice touch. I’m sorry this is the last book in the series, but I guess all good things must come to an end.

Emily, the jilted schoolteacher, reminds me of my late husband Bill. Before he met me, he had two previous engagements that didn’t work out. Yet, he worked up the courage to propose to me, and it all turned out well in the end, despite his suffering two strokes that paralyzed his left side. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

 

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

 

Review: A Week in Winter

A Week in Winter

by Mave Binchy

Copyright 2012.

 

After living in New York City for twenty years, Chickie returns to her home town, a seaside village in Ireland. She buys an old house and turns it into a hotel with the help of the elderly woman who owned it, a former gangster, and her niece. Despite the skepticism of family and friends, her business venture is a success. The hotel’s first guests are a cast of interesting characters including an American actor, a couple of English doctors, a Swedish accountant, and others. As their stories unfold, the hotel becomes a place of healing for most of them.

I like the way the author tells the story from the point of view of each of the characters, providing plenty of back story to help us understand them. In a way, it reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor Inn series. Unfortunately, this is one of the last books Mave Binchy wrote before she died. It’s too bad because I would like to have read more books about Chickie and her hotel and each guest whose outlook on life change after staying there.

Before my late husband Bill suffered his first stroke, he and I enjoyed traveling together. In 2005 before our wedding, we took an early honeymoon trip to California, and in 2006 just before his first stroke, we spent two weeks in Colorado. He might have enjoyed a trip to Ireland to stay in a hotel like Chickie’s, although I doubt we could have afforded it. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.