Book Review – Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

I have never read anything like it… As you are reading this, remind yourself that it is a FIRST NOVEL by this author….. it is just stunning.

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

How to begin describing a book like this? A book which gives a detailed look into a mind so very different from my own as to be completely foreign?  The narrator – if you can call her that – of Turn of Mind is Jennifer White, a 64-year-old very-well-respected former hand surgeon who is rapidly succumbing to Alzheimers. Her days and moods are varied – some days lucid and clear, when she understands what is happening to her with a clinical detachment. Some days confused, frightened and downright paranoid. Some days angry and violent. From day to day her adult children and her live-in caregiver do not know what to expect from her. They keep a journal for her, in the the hope that it will help her remember.But the decent into dementia is only part of the story. Jennifer’s best friend, Amanda, who lives three houses down the street, has been murdered – and 4 fingers of her hand have been expertly amputated. Naturally the police suspect Jennifer, but have no evidence, and Jennifer cannot remember.  Sometimes the police treat her as though her amnesia is a “convenient excuse” to cover up the crime. Most days Jennifer cannot even remember that her friend is dead, so she relives the horror of learning that fact (along with the death of her husband) over and over and over.

Did she kill Amanda? Or didn’t she? Stunning, heart-breaking, strange and haunting. I could not put it down.

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Book Review – Dragon House by John Shors

Dragon House by John Shors

I can’t throw enough clichés at this book – mesmerizing, touching, moving, heart-wrenching, compelling –  and still I fail to capture the terrible beauty of it.  The street children of Vietnam not only don’t have a home, they generally don’t have any parent or adult figure to help them.  Dragon House is the tale of two Americans, with plenty of troubles of their own, who go to Vietnam to open a center to help take care of as many street children as they can.  The detail is wonderful, letting you understand how crowded and wild Ho Chi Mihn City really is.  Clearly the author spent a lot of time traveling around the area and probably saw unbelievably terrible situations in many cases.  But Shors wisely chose to tell only two of the thousands of stories; any more would have been more than the reader could possibly bear.   The book focuses on Qui and Tam, the granddaughter who is dying of leukemia, and the story of Mai and Minh, two children under the dubious “protection” of an opium-fiend named Loc.  The stories are sad and yet still hopeful, the center a haven of childhood for many children who didn’t have one before.  And as a bonus,  John Shors is donating some of the proceeds of the book to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which works with children in need in Vietnam.  See www.dragonhousebook.com for further information.

Book Review – The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic’s Daughter: A Novel

In the summer of 1692 in Salem, MA, 14 women and 5 men were hung as witches and many more were incarcerated in ghastly and inhumane prisons.  It was a shameful time in American history, when the accused were guilty until proven innocent (and how do you prove that you are NOT a witch?)  and confession was obtained by torture (ok, that has been a consistent method for all time).  The words of disgruntled neighbors and hysterical teenage girls were considered evidence.  It was a fearful and difficult time for the Puritan colonists, with the constant threat of Native American raids and poor harvests ranking only slightly lower in importance than terror of a vengeful God and a spiteful Devil.  Mass hysteria ruled for less than a year, and is nearly incomprehensible to us today.  Kathleen Kent is the descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the women excommunicated from the Church and hung as a witch (later remanded) and has written a powerful, terrifying fictionalized account of the trials, displaying the inexorable move from suspicion to accusation to execution.

Top Free Kindle Business & Investing Books – 10/8/12

Here are the top free Kindle Business and Investing ebooks, as of Monday, October 8 2012.  This list will be updated every week.

NOTE: These ebooks were free at the time of publication. Please verify the current price before purchasing.

1. How People Tick: A Guide to Over 50 Types of Difficult People and How to Handle Them  By Mike Leibling

Normally priced at $1.99 or $19.95 for the print version. 4.0 stars.

2.  Life After Debt: Practical Solutions To Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, And Radically Transform Your Finances Forever!  By Rob Kossberg.

Normally priced at $2.99. 4.9 stars.

3. Stress-Free Retirement Planning By Mark J. Orr

Normally priced at $4.99. 5.0 stars.

4. Couponing for the Beginner: A Guide to Couponing for the Uninitiated  By Jenny Dean

Normally $4.99. 4.8 stars.

5. Head in the Clouds: The Location Independent Office – How To Take Your Business or Job Online and Work Remotely from Wherever You Please!  by Phil Byrne and Indi Debah

Normally priced at $4.99. 5.0 stars.

Portfolio – Accounting Firm Articles

Here is a sample of some of the articles I have written for businesses. Where possible, I am linking to the actual live content. In other cases, I ghost-wrote the article for clients, so it is not published under my byline. I can provide full writing samples on request.

5 Questions to Ask Your New Tax Consultant

Accounting Tools and Documents: The Balance Sheet

Accounting Tools and Documents: The Profit and Loss Statement

Accounting Principles and Definitions, Part 1 and 2

Most Important U.S. Tax Filing Deadlines

Who Will Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff?

Book Alert – The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

I recently receieved the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of this book from the Amazon Vine program, and it’s next on my to-read list.

On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting—the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner—is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. it’s a dazzling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.