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Book Review: Blue Hydrangeas: an Alzheimer’s love story by Marianne Sciucco

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About the book:

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name? A care facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

My review:

Blue Hydrangeas is a beautifully written novel that tells the story of a man’s all-consuming love for his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is also the story of how this terrible disease affects the entire network of family and friends that surrounds the affected person. Marianne Sciucco does not mention a personal connection with Alzheimer’s, but I’m sure she has dealt with it in her career as a nurse. She definitely writes about the dementia experience with the insight and sensitivity of one who has watched a loved one disappear slowly, one memory at a time.

The story is about more than the disease, though. Sciucco paints lovely word pictures of the Blue Hydrangeas Bed & Breakfast and of the love between Jack and Sara that is stronger than the trials they must face together. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to the prequel that will be coming soon.

 

About the author:

Head shotI’m not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I studied the craft of writing as an English major at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in New England. To avoid poverty, I later became a nurse and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. A native Bostonian who loves Cape Cod, I make my home in upstate New York. When I’m not writing contemporary and young adult “flinch-free” fiction, I work as a campus nurse at a community college. I am also a founder of AlzAuthors blog, spotlighting carefully vetted books and blogs for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To see what else I’m up to visit http://MarianneSciucco.blogspot.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You may also drop me a line at mariannesciucco@gmail.com.

Buy at Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

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Introducing… Sara Beth Williams

Anaiah Press posted this interview with their new author, Sara Beth Williams. Her debut contemporary Christian romance is called Second Chances and will be released by Anaiah some time in 2018.

Anaiah Press

We are thrilled to announce that we’ve signed author, Sara Beth Williams for her contemporary romance, SECOND CHANCES. She’s here today to answer some questions so we can all get to know her a bit better.

1. Welcome, Sara Beth! Thanks for stopping by to chat with us. Tell us a bit about yourself. 
Author-Photo__Sara-Beth-WilliamsI’m married, going on ten years this June. We have two beautiful girls, ages 2 and 6. I’ve been saved by Christ since the age of 14. Some things you may not know about me: I can twist balloon animals and all kinds of other creations. I ran my own entertainment business balloon twisting for birthdays for a couple years. Secret wishes of mine: 1: I wish I could paint and take amazing photos, but alas, my gift is turning beautiful images I see or imagine into words instead. 2: I wish I could learn how…

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Louisiana pets are spoiled, too | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 28, 2017:

Cat in suitcaseDavid and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Louisiana with his family. Kitty is much more socialized than she used to be, but we trust her more in familiar surroundings than in the homes of strangers. Consequently, she spent four days and nights at home alone.

She didn’t seem to mind too much, but she’s always curious when we pull out the luggage. She climbed into David’s suitcase, and when he ran her out, she lay down on the open lid of mine. Once all the cases were packed and zipped, she lost interest and went to take a nap. (more…)

New 5-star review for “A Long and Winding Road”

Linda Brendle’s A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos cleverly uses a fifty-three day RV road trip as a vehicle for readers to glimpse the ups and downs of Alzheimer’s erratic world. This heartwarming story of a daughter’s devotion to her mother and father is inspirational. The author draws upon spiritual courage to meet nonstop challenges. She tempers the seriousness of the subject matter by sprinkling pages with humor. And, Linda Brendle flawlessly weaves her personal growth journeys to add depth to this enjoyable read. I highly recommend this work.

WindingRoadFinal

On sale for 99 cents!

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review of A Long and Winding Road

WindingRoadFinal

If you love bargains, the digital edition of A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is on sale for just $.99!

A review by Mary Beth Magee of Reviews and Opinions and the Writing World: 

A book every caregiver should read by a woman who has been there

What do you do when the world you thought you knew starts shifting out from under you? 

That’s the dilemma that confronted author Linda Brendle. She faced a husband in career turmoil, a mother in the throes of Alzheimer’s and a father suffering from vascular dementia. As a potential cross-country move loomed, she and her husband made a decision to take an extended trip in an RV with her parents.

The result of that trip became “The Long and Winding Road.” Brendle moves back and forth between the trip and memories of past activities to show the way personal history influences personal present and perceptions. Her extraordinary memoir should be on every caregiver’s “must read” list.

As someone who has cared for a mother with Alzheimer’s, I identified immediately with Brendle’s situation. She doesn’t sugarcoat the problems, but she shows a path through them. Her poignant and heartfelt story can offer a glimmer of hope to anyone in the situation.

If you face a caregiving role, look for “The Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love and Chaos” by Linda Brendle. The book will provide an understanding shoulder, a cheerleader and a frequent “I know how that feels” chuckle. Her deep faith perspective will encourage you in your own faith walk. I wish I had this book when my mother was still with me.

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is the story of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend fifty-three days in a 400-square-foot box on wheels.

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords

Blessings,

Linda

 

Nicknames and Country Uncles | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 12, 2017:

David and I recently went to a church pot luck at my brother Jim’s church in Conway, AR. As siblings tend to do, especially older siblings, our conversation turned to memories of our shared childhoods. I can’t remember the thread that led to the subject of nicknames, but at some point I mentioned that, if Jim had been in charge, my name would have been Judy instead of Linda.

Judy_album_cover  Judge Judy

Jim was four years old when Mom was pregnant with me. Wanting to make him feel a part of the process, she and Dad asked him what he thought my name should be. He doesn’t remember where he had heard the name – maybe a cute little girl in his Sunday School class or someone he met at the park – but he immediately suggested that I be named Judy. I think they had already made their choice, but they played along anyway, asking what he thought my middle name should be. (more…)

Book Review: The Borman Factor: A Nick Borman Thriller by Robert Lalonde

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About the book:

A member of the wealthy and influential Piermont family is brutally murdered in a public place. Two weeks after the assassination authorities have no witnesses, no leads and no motive for the crime.

The Piermonts hire Nick Borman, a specialist in corporate espionage, to bring the killer to justice. A tangled web of deceit unfolds as Borman discovers greed and corruption at the highest level.

From city hall to the depths of Toronto’s criminal underworld, Nick Borman is in hot pursuit of a cold-blooded killer.

My review (four stars out of five):

The Borman Factor by Robert Lalonde is a very entertaining read with exceptional moments sprinkled in. It is a bit uneven in the beginning, but the first chapter was very well done – tight, intense, relying on a well-told story rather than gratuitous gore. The next few chapters basically laid the groundwork and introduced characters, mostly through dialogue. Using conversation in such a major role requires a lot of finesse that was lacking in these few chapters. Although I detected some faint Sam Spade undertones, the stilted exchanges were a bit distracting.

Once the preliminaries were out of the way, however, and Nick Borman stepped into the spotlight, Lalonde shifted into a more narrative mode. The pace picked up and smoothed out, and I was able to lose myself in the twists and turns of this fast paced thriller. The Borman Factor is a promising debut into a new genre for the author, and I look forward to Book 2.

About the author:

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Robert Lalonde is the author of The Borman Factor (A Nick Borman Thriller, Book 1).

He is currently writing Jinxed (A Nick Borman Thriller, Book 2).

He lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife Marianne.

Find Robert here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter 

Goodreads

Find the book at Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

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