Monday, March 26, 2012

Chemo: Secrets To Thriving: From someone who's been there: written by Roxanne Brown in collaboration with Barbara Mastej and John S. Link, M.D.

Chemo: Secrets to Thriving: From someone who's been there: written by Roxanne Brown in collaboration with Barbara Mastej and John S. Link, M.D.

When I was finishing with my Iron Infusion Friday, March 16, in preparation for my new regime of Chemo due to the new diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma instead of the Non-Hodgkins I'd had previously four times, I noticed this little book laying on the counter at the nurses station. I jotted down the authors names, title,and publisher and came home to write to the publisher to request a review copy. Within days, my copy was here.
This little gem is the perfect companion for anyone going through Chemo or is getting ready to start this scary journey. This journey need not be scary if equipped with the proper tools and a positive attitude. This book has all the tools to help you get through this journey.
Since Roxanne has gone through all thed highs and lows, such as losing our hair, maybe getting nauseous, constipated, diahrrea, hiccups, burping,etc, this book has remedies for everything Chemo-related. There's even support groups and places to buy wigs, hats, turbans, scarves and even sleep covers for a cold bald head. I have been able to get wigs and hats at my Cancer Center that have been donated. There are lots of resources out there, as Roxanne mentions. This book should be with you whenever you go anywhere.
Also, if you like to blog, it's easy to set one up like I plan on doing. I've always wanted to have a personal blog aside from my book blog.
As Roxanne's Chemo friend Suzanne said. “The Koru symbol is KEY to the entire book. It offers hope, meaning, and something to strive for and understand as you take the step by step journey through Chemo, come out on the other side, and embrace the quest for new life, renewal, strength, love and more.”
My Chemo Nurse Nancy is related to Roxanne,by the way. Her son is married to her niece.

I received my Review Copy from the publisher.
?Publisher: NorLights Press
Date Published: Aug 2011
ISBN: 978-1-935254-53-9

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Ultimate Biography of The Bee Gees: Tales of The Brothers Gibb by Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook, Andrew Mon Hughes with assistance from Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan

The Ultimate Biography of The Bee Gees: Tales of The Brothers Gibb by Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook and Andrew Mon Hughes with assistance from Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan

Since I'm a huge Bee Gees fan from way back in '67 when I was a teenager of 18-19, this was a book right up my alley. And, as The Bee Gees are my age, I grew up with them.
The Bee Gees have proved to everyone that their longevity has been what has sustained them through 50 years and with being brothers, have had a spiritual type bond, unlike other groups.
Barry, the oldest of The Bee Gees, said, "We made a pact between the three of us that, hell or high water, we were going to be a famous pop group and that nothing was going to stop us." It took a bit longer to obtain, yet it took several highs and lows to achieve their goal. In my estimation, they are/were the best pop group ever because of their longevity and because they are, without a doubt, the best songwriting group of all time,with Lennon-McCartney the only ones with more songs. Their harmonies are unsurpassed.
Barry, Robin and Maurice are brothers, but each are very different. Their friend, David English, said it best. "Maurice is a wonderful comedian, very good soul, very good heart, very funny, witty. Robin is extremely sensitive...zany...eccentric...He's got this most wonderful off-the-wall sense of humour. Barry kind of harnesses these qualities, he's the steady captain of the ship. That'swhy I always call him 'the skipper.' He's an immensely creative person. If you are his friend, then he would do anything for you....Then you put all those qualities together, in the three of them, and it's unbelievable, but the humour is the thing that I've always thought has been exceptional. They make me laugh and laugh and laugh." The group's former drummer, Colin Peterson, said. "The Bee Gees are like a tripod; they need all three."
Hugh Gibb, father of The Brothers Gibb, was born in Manchester in 1918 and was the bandleader and drummer of a dance band when he met Barbara May Pass, born in 1920, at a dance. Barbara also was born in Manchester, was also a singer, but sang locally, not as “a big band singer.” Hugh wouldn’t let her sing with the band as “one musician in the family was enough.” He would have to bite those words later, as the entire family became musical.
Hugh and Barbara’s first child, Lesley, was born in 1945, then The Gibbs moved to the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea. Barry, being the oldest of the three, was born 1 Sep 1946. Robin and Maurice, born on 22 Dec 1949, were different, as they were fraternal twins. As the boys got older, they were overheard singing in their bedroom and their parents thought the singing was coming from the radio, not their three sons. They started singing locally and when they booked passage on a ship headed to Australia later on, they sang onboard ship.
When Barry was approx 2-3, he accidentally knocked a tea kettle over, scalding his chest, sustaining a scar. Since all four of the brothers have hairy chests, that scar has been hidden to everyone but family. The brothers were pretty rowdy growing up, but have been considered normal boys compared to today. The brothers, esp Barry, was the songwriter until later. Their frst breakout hit was “Spicks and Specks” that did so-so in the US. As a young boy, Robin had a near disastor of an accident with his bike. He also had a fascination with fire that nearly did him in. Barry had another near disaster concerning his eye and falling off a building that to this day, has caused him to have back problems.
The Gibbs proceeded to move back to Manchester where little brother Andy was born on 5 March 1958. Andy wasn’t interested in the Business while growing up, as he was interested in horses and other things. When Barry gave him a guitar for his 12th birthday, everything changed. The brothers feel now that Andy would’ve been better suited as a pilot, as he’d gotten his pilot’s license a few months before his death.
Andy started performing in bars while in his early teens, getting a band together with his mom’s help. She decided on Melody Fayre, though Andy didn’t approve at first. While at this time, Andy was living in Australia and his mom followed soon to be near him. Andy met and started dating Kim Reeder, a girl down the road and when Barry said he was ready for Andy to join him in Miami to jumpstart his career, he asked Kim to go with him as his new bride. He was just 18, a little older than his brothers when they were married for the first time.
Earlier, when Barry, Robin and Maurice started hitting it big, they signed with Robert Stigwood as their manager, a union that lasted for many years. There was even a lawsuit with him and another person that caused some problems.
This ultimate biography goes into detail on how the brthers came to write so many wonderful songs like “Massachsetts”, 1941 New York Mining Disaster, Words, I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, Holiday, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Alone, etc. When Saturday Night Fever was in the planning stages, the songs were already written. Because Hollywood didn’t think much of pop music, let alone disco, as a viable soundtrack album for an Oscar Nomination, this soundtrack, which became the all-time soundtrack of all time, was totally snubbed by the Academy. Afterwards, there was a huge backlash and The Bee Gees were snubbed as well.
When Andy hit it big as a teen idol, appearing on several variety shows like The Donny and Marie Show, Gimme A Break, co-host of Solid Gold with Marilyn McCoo, his concert tours, and his foray into Broadway with Pirates of Penzance and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, he began a spiral of massive consequences with his cocaine addiction. After his much-publicized relationship with Victoria Principal, he suffered a nervous breakdown. When his career took a nosedive, he flew to England to be near Robin and to write music for a new album. When he died on 10 March, just five days after his 30th birthday, of an inflammation of the heart muscle, caused by years of cocaine abuse, the world had lost a beautiful, sensitive and talented soul. The brothers grieved for a long time, having difficulties dealing with Andy’s death.
The Bee Gees wrote some songs for other performers, namely Dionne Warwick with Heartbreaker, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton with Islands In The Stream Barbra Streisand with her Guilty album with a couple of duets with Barry, and Celine Dion with Immortality. Barry could always write a song in approx 15 min. Robin and Maurice could as well, but writing has always come easy for Barry.
The Bee Gees did alot of tours, then, because of their fear of flying, took to doing One Night Only concerts, like the one in '97 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Barbara Gibb now lives. She is now 91. You can get the One Night Only CD on Amazon. There is another live concert CD, called Request. I plan on getting this one, as I have the other. YouTube has some rare recordings you should see.
Since this biography has had two updated editions and I have the 2001 edition and there is a 2004 edition with an added last chapter with added material on Maurice’s untimely death from a massive heart attack brought on by a blocked intestine in Jan 2003, I was able to get a PDF of that last chapter. Thanks Andrew. Years later, when Robin experienced the same stomach/chest pains, he was able to get to the hospital and get this potentially life-threatening situation fixed. They found that this problem was congenital. Soon afterwards, Robin was in the hospital with colon cancer, then after treatments, he had it go to his lungs. Robin is now in remission, getting ready for he and his son RJ’s Titanic Requeim premiering 10 April in London with The Royal Philharmonic. You can go to Robin’s website to order a copy of his CD or to amazon.
Barry and his wife Linda have recently become naturalized US citizens, since they’ve considered Miami as their home now. With Maurice’s death in ‘03, Barry and Robin have retired The Bee Gees name, since The BeeGees aren’t The Bee Gees without Maurice. Just this last month, Barry opened at The Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe as a solo act and he was given a standing ovation.
Robin said, “We enjoy what we do. There’s no cut-off moment. We just feel that as long as we feel that we’ve got something good to contribute, and we enjoy what we’re doing, then we’ll keep on doing it. It’s like painting, you just have to do what you do. I see no reason to retire when I’m 65. Picasso didn’t stop painting, dkid he? Maybe someone will have to carry the colostomy bag onto the stage, but asking me about retirement is like asking me about death."
Barry said, "First of all, you gotta care about each other and we really do. We are brothers and we love making music. That's infectious and extremely addictive for us. It's the best drug in the wlorld, and we can't stay away from it.” Barry said, “I like the idea of signing 30 albums-not every 5 minutes, but I like it.” We’re working to become the best, not just becoming good.”
Maurice said, “I do know I’m one hell of a contented guy.”
And in one parting word, Barry said, “What the end thing is, no one knows. But my final goal is to walk through the Golden Gates and have someone standing there saying “Liked Ya!!!!"
This is by far the best biography I've read, as it has so many details about personal stories and insights into how and why The Brothers Gibb wrote their wonderfully beautiful songs with their beautiful harmonies. I came to know, love and respect these enormously talented brothers. Give yourself a treat and go get this awesome book, you'll be glad you did.

I received this book as a birthday gift in 2002-2003.

Publisher: Omnibus Press
Date Published: 2001, 2004
ISBN: 0-7119-8748-3

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Passage On The Titanic by Anita Stansfield

Passage On The Titanic by Anita Stansfield

When I read through a newsletter from Anita a few weeks ago that her newest novel would soon be released and that it was about the Titanic, I knew I had to get it and get it quickly, as I'm a HUGE Titanic fan and have read a lot of books on this subject. Since Anita usually writes a series of books when she writes, I was hoping there would be a sequel, but at this point, I'm not sure. We'll just have to wait and see.
The story starts out with the sinking of the ship, with the main characters Ella Brown, who is a fictional character and with incorporating a real-life character into the story. This person happens to be Irene Corbett, an LDS woman from Utah, who strongly feels she needs to further her nursing skills in London in midwifery. She prays about this important undertaking, as she'll need to leave her husband and three young children for 6 months or more.
Ella, a young English girl, loses both of her parents, so is forced to live an impoverished life on the streets of London, winding up in the hospital in a life-threatening state, the same hospital Irene is working in. Irene feels a strong connection with Ella and they bond quickly. Irene finds a place for Ella to live, where in time, she finds work as a nanny. When Irene has finished her schooling, she books passage on this new ship that has been touted as being unsinkable. Ella is totally surprised when the family she works for also books passage on the Titanic for a vacation in America. Both women find the ship wonderful, especially with knowing the Titanic has many pianos onboard.
When both ladies hear and feel the ship hitting the iceberg, they begin to gather a few things together. Ella loses sight of Irene when Irene puts her in a lifeboat. The next morning, when the ship Carpathia arrives where they expected the Titanic to be, they see nothing but lifeboats with survivors in them.
Deeply shaken by this catastropic event, Ella finds comfort and healing in the care of rescue crewman Jonathan Moreau and his loving family. Can Ella ever find peace and happiness with the constant nightmares over this devastating event? This powerful novel evokes compassion, redemption, hope and survival as never before, as this really happened.

I bought my copy from Seagull.

Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Date Published: Feb 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60861-856-9

The Alias by Mandi Tucker Slack

The Alias by Mandi Tucker Slack
Jacey Grayson, with her young son Blaze, are living with her best friend Melissa and her young daughter, Jenny, trying to put the past behind them and start over.
Her ex-husband, John, who was abusive, has been suspected of having murdered a journalist and in being involved with a crime family in Chicago. The FBI suspects she knows more than she's telling, so, with Melissa's help, she goes in hiding to Utah to protect herself and Blaze.
When they arrive at Melissa's relative's farm, she feels guilty for lying about who she is, as they welcome her with love immediately. Both Jacey and Blaze feel at home right from the start, but knows they'll have to leave soon to find work and a place to live. When she meets Kale, her "cousin," he's unfriendly towards her. Jacey loves the sloer pace of farm life, helping with the chores with Aunt Helen and Uncle Grant.
When her ex-husband gets too close for comfort by threatening Melissa and Jenny, and threatens her, she's forced to go to him to protect Blaze. When her new found family all come to the rescue to save them both, she realizes how much she is loved.
I loved this fast-paced suspense novel, esp with the setting in Mona, Utah, being close to the mountains by Payson and Provo. I really liked the small town ambiance with horses, gathering eggs, having Aunt Helen showing Jacey how to make bread, apple pie and cookies, as she had only prepared boxed meals in the past.

I received my Review Copy from Mandi.

Publisher: Cedar Fort
Date Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59955-509-6