Archive | June, 2014

I Will Never Forget Book Blurb and Giveaway

30 Jun
http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/non-fiction-book-tour-giveaway-i-will-never-forget-a-daughters-story-of-her-mothers-arduous-and-humorous-journey-through-dementia-by-elaine-c-pereira-62314-72114/

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/23/14 – 7/21/14

Genres:  Non-Fiction; Memoir; Aging






Blurb:
I Will Never Forget is the incredible true story of the author’s talented mother’s poignant and often humorous journey through the mystifying haze of Dementia. Through superb stories of Elaine’s childhood, from her controversial name, tales of smoking’ dragons and the feisty teenage years, her mother Betty Ward’s wonderful character is revealed.
Over time, as their relationship evolves and a new paradigm is formed, Betty begins to exhibit goofy actions, uncharacteristic verbal assaults and bizarre thinking. Although clearly mystified by her mother’s irrational behaviors, Elaine does not appreciate the extent of Betty’s mental decline. Her amazing ability to mask the truth clouds Elaine’s vision and prolongs her denial until one cataclysmic explosion of reality over an innocuous drapery rod launches a waterfall of destructive events.
As her mother’s brilliant mind is steadily destroyed by Dementia’s insatiable appetite for brain cells, Elaine accompanies her mother on her journey. She witnesses Betty’s fascinating visions of her own mother, masterful Houdini-like disappearances and finally a stunning rally to take control of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget is a heartwarming, humorous, honest and deeply moving story pertinent to everyone touched by the insidious effects of Dementia. Learn from Elaine’s unwitting mistakes as she weaves her way through her mother’s unpredictable disease to capture insightful and effective intervention strategies.

Chapter 28: The Ugly Truth:

But as the adult, the nebulous abyss of being a parent to your parent is a delicate responsibility. Balancing respect and autonomy and naturally expecting them to be accurate when they tell you, I’ll be fine is a daunting challenge. Somewhere deep down, you know it’s not true. They are no longer fine.


Connect With The Author:


Elaine Pereira retired as a school Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years experience in pediatrics and a decade in adult home care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University in OT and her Master’s in Liberal Arts. Pereira maintains her OT licensure and holds Certifications as a Dementia Caregiver and Practitioner. She and her husband Joseph live in southeastern Michigan with their two big dogs Bailey and Maddee and Snoopy the cat. Together they have five adult children, Elaine’s twin daughters and Joe’s three sons and five grandchildren.
I Will Never Forget-A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia is Elaine’s first book, a memoir in tribute to her amazingly talented mother. Pereira writes for MariaShriver.com, Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Endear For Alzheimer’s and a variety of guest blog posts. She has been featured in four television spots, Fox 2 Detroit, Living Dayton and Fox 45 Dayton and The Best of Aging magazine, April 2013 edition.
Her hobbies include golf, sewing, hand-craft projects and gardening. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and world wide including Europe; Madeira, Portugal; Australia; Seoul and Hong Kong.
Now she networks extensively to advance Alzheimer’s awareness and donates from each book sold to Alzheimer’s research.


Author Links:

Giveaway:
Win one of thirty print copies of I Will Never Forget. Entry is restricted to the USA! Enter through Goodreads.

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    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

   

        I Will Never Forget by Elaine C. Pereira   

   

     

          I Will Never Forget     

     

          by Elaine C. Pereira     

     

         
            Giveaway ends July 21, 2014.          
         
            See the giveaway details            at Goodreads.          
     

   

   

      Enter to win

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Hamlet presented by the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN

29 Jun

HamletHamlet by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can you say about Hamlet that hasn’t already been said? It has become part of our popular culture. Famous lines like, “To thine own self be true”, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well (said while holding a skull)” and, of course, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” It has been parodied numerous times, two of which come to mind right now. One is Gilligan’s Island turning it into a musical (with music from Carmen). The other is the movie Last Action Hero, where Hamlet becomes an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. (Arnold: To be or not to be. [lights cigar] Not to be. [explosion in background]). So why has it lasted over 400 years and become so ingrained in our popular culture? It deals with universal themes, death, betrayal, war, love, depression. It also deals with the supernatural. Last night, I attended a production of this play at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN. These are my thoughts on the production.

In the play, Hamlet’s father, the King, was killed 2 months earlier. His uncle, Claudius, marries Hamlet’s mother, the Queen, just 1 month after the King’s death. Ophelia, daughter of Polonius, the King’s councilor, is in love with Hamlet, but Hamlet may or may not be in love with her. One night, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to Hamlet and says that Claudius killed him (Hamlet’s father), and that Hamlet must take revenge. Hamlet meets a group of traveling actors, and stages a play to reenact the killing. This outrages Claudius, who sends Hamlet to exile in England. Hamlet returns to kill Claudius, but kills Polonius by mistake. Ophelia, overwrought by Hamlet’s rejection of her love and by her father’s death, drowns herself. Claudius then plots with Laertes, son of Polonius, to kill Hamlet. They put poison on the end of the sword, and poison in the wine. In the final duel, Hamlet picks up the sword with poison and kills Laertes, but Laertes has also stabbed Hamlet with a poisoned sword. The Queen drinks from the cup intended for Hamlet, and dies. In his final act, Hamlet kills Claudius right before dying himself.

The Festival production focused on the theatricality of the play. The actors came out at the beginning, introduced themselves, and took part of their costumes off of an on-stage costume rack. This is appropriate, since there is an element of theatricality to the play itself. This is especially evident with the play within the play, but also in the many soliloquies in the play, where the actors speak directly to the audience. There was a line of chairs in the back that kept going up and down, again emphasizing the theatricality of the play. The actors are dressed in modern business suits and dresses. It almost looked like the story of President Claudius and White House Chief of Staff Polonius. Yes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are here. The Festival is also performing Rosencreantz and Guildenstern are Dead this year, so they’ll be back, played by the same actors who played them here. I learned after the performance that parts of the script were cut (not surprising, given the total running length of the play). I didn’t notice any missing elements. It went seamlessly. There was some humor in the play. Polonius said, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” then proceeded to talk on and on. Shakespeare knew it was needed in a play like this.

Special commendation goes to Andrew Carlson, who played Hamlet. This is one of the most demanding roles in Shakespeare’s plays, and he portrays Hamlet excellently. You’re never quite sure whether his madness is real or faked. It’s just on the edge. When he starts the “to be or not to be” soliloquy, you wonder if he actually will commit suicide. The rest of the cast was excellent as well. Michael Fitzpatrick as Claudius, Leslie Brott as the Queen, Steve Hendrickson as Polonius, Sigrid Sutter as Ophelia, and all of the rest I don’t have space to mention here. This has been a request of Festival audiences for many years. It was well worth the wait.

For more information on the Great River Shakespeare Festival, go to www.grsf.org.

For more information on Winona, MN, go to www.visitwinona.com.

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The Merry Wives of Windsor presented by the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN

28 Jun

The Merry Wives of WindsorThe Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not strictly a review of the book. The play has been around for over 400 years, so anything I say won’t make any difference. This is my impression of the play produced by the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN last night. Shakespeare’s plays were not meant solely to be read. They were meant to be performed. It is in that spirit that I present my thoughts.

First, something about the play. This is, to use modern TV terminology, a spinoff. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth loved the character of Falstaff in Henry IV Part 1, and asked Shakespeare to write a play centering on Falstaff. The result was this. Don’t worry, I’m not giving away anything that’s not in the Cliffs Notes. Falstaff arrives in Windsor with no cash. He soon devises a plot to woo Mrs Page and Mrs Ford, the Merry Wives in the title, and then extort them for money. Falstaff makes the mistake, however, of sending the exact same letter to each wife. The wives meet, discover this, and plot to embarrass Falstaff. In addition, Mr Ford, disguised as Brook, wants Falstaff to test his wife’s fidelity. I would hilarity ensues here, but I’ve seen that on the back of too many DVD cases where the hilarity does not ensue. Falstaff winds up hiding in a laundry basket, and then dumped in the River Thames. He also is forced to dress as a woman and it is beaten with a cudgel.

Meanwhile, Anne Page is scheduled to receive a large inheritance when she turns 17. She has 3 suitors for her hand in marriage. The first, Mr Slender, has money but is, in Shakespeare’s terms, an “idiot.” Her father prefers him. The second, Dr Caius, is a pompous Frenchman. Shakespeare has a lot of fun with his accent. Her mother prefers him. The third, Mr Fenton, has money, is humble, and has his wits about him. Anne prefers him. Mrs Quickly acts as the messenger between Mr Fenton and Anne, as well as between Falstaff and Mrs Ford. The climax is in the forest, where Falstaff wears deer antlers and is poked with hot pokers by children pretending to be fairies. In the end, to quote another Shakespeare play, all’s well that ends well. Anne marries Mr Fenton, the Pages and the Fords rekindle their love, and Falstaff observes, “I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass.”

The Festival sets this play in the early 1900s, a time of relative peace in the world. The characters don’t have to worry about larger geopolitical concerns; they can focus on their own lives. It is a bit ironic, though, that this weekend is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which set the events in motion that started World War I. The production uses period music to set the scene, with songs such as Bicycle Built for Two (and yes, there is a bicycle built for two in the production) and Moonlight Bay. This definitely adds something to the play. They also add an introduction, letting everyone know who the characters are. They don’t shy away from the text. We were all laughing at the appropriate times. It’s not that hard to follow along.

The production was excellent. Special commendations go the following actors (if I don’t name an actor, it is only for space limitations):
Jonathan Gillard Daly as Falstaff. He plays Falstaff as the buffoon Shakespeare wrote, but with an element of playfulness. I could see him wearing a red suit and carrying a bag of toys. Based on the forest scene, I could also see him blending in with the reindeer. Lol.

Tarah Flanagan as Mrs Ford and Sigrid Sutter as Mrs Page. Their plotting turns this into the Real Housewives of Windsor.

Leslie Brott as Mrs Quickly. She keeps talking and talking, and doesn’t know when to shut up. Perfect.

Steve Hendrickson as Mr Ford. His jealousy, especially when he plays Brook, is way over the top.

Jenni McCarthy (no, not the host on The View) as Anne Page. She brings an innocence to the role, oombined with determination to get what she wants.

Christopher Gerson as Pastor Evans. He does the Welsh accent well. He did this last year in Henry V, and it’s only improved since then.

And a special note to Andrew Carlson as Dr Caius. His over the top French accent reminds me of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies. He also had the biggest laugh line of the night. He said, in his fake accent, “If there be one, or two, I shall make-a the turd.” It took about 5 minutes for everyone in the audience to stop laughing and get on with the play.

All in all an excellent performance. I can see why this play has been around for over 400 years, and the Festival has been around for 11 seasons.

For more information on the Great River Shakespeare Festival, go to www.grsf.org

For more information about Winona, MN, go to www.visitwinona.com.

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The Bookman’s Tale

27 Jun

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of ObsessionThe Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

This is Shakespeare meets The Da Vinci Code. It follows the path of Peter Byerly, dealer in rare books. His wife has just died, and he has moved to England from America to help deal with the loss. He finds a portrait hidden in a rare book. The portrait, although it is over 100 years old, looks amazingly like his late wife. He is obsessed with finding out who the painter is, and who is in the picture. It also will lead him to a rare book which may or may not answer the question once and for all whether Shakespeare actually wrote his plays. The characters call this book “the Holy Grail”, so you can see where The Da Vinci Code comparison comes in. The novel takes place in 3 different timelines. The first is present day (which, for this book is 1995). The second starts in 1983, when he meets his future wife, Amanda. (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler.) The third starts in Shakespeare’s time and goes forward to the 1870s, and is about the book. The plot twists and turns as we see how the book came to be, who owned it, and how Peter and Amanda came to be married. One big difference between this and The Da Vinci Code is that the author freely admits that some of his elements are fiction. Normally, I don’t like too many flashbacks, or jumping around from time to time. However, in this case it works. It actually pushes the story forward. I won’t reveal the ending because of spoilers, but it does satisfy the readers. With the Great River Shakespeare Festival going on in Winona right now, this seemed especially appropriate. All in all, a good book. For more information on the Great River Shakespeare festival, go to http://www.grsf.org.

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How to Make it in Hollywood

27 Jun

How to Make It in Hollywood: The Inside StoryHow to Make It in Hollywood: The Inside Story by Rick Friedberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for this review.

When I read this book, I thought of a commercial from a few years ago. I don’t remember the product. It showed a group of studio execs sitting around a conference table talking about a slug movie. They had everything ready to go–the posters, the toys, the kids’ meals, the music video–everything. At the end, the studio head says, “What about a script?” One of the other execs says, “We’ll have one hammered out by Friday.” That’s the state of the movie business these days. It’s a deal before it’s a movie. The author knows this all too well. He’s the director of Spy Hard, a spy movie spoof starring Leslie Nielsen of Airplane! fame. (I haven’t seen the movie, so I’m not going to comment on it.) He describes the trials and tribulations he went through in getting the movie made, and other movies and TV shows he made. He’s an anomaly in Hollywood–same house, same wife, same phone number for over 30 years. The chapter titles are very descriptive. Chapter 2 is If you want a career in show business, be determined to the point of obsession. The whole book reminds me of that song from Richard Marx back in the 1980s. “It don’t mean nothin’ till you sign it on the dotted line.” The corollary to that is read the contract very carefully. Good book for anyone who wants to know about going into the movie business, and then decides to do it anyway.

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Start

26 Jun

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That MattersStart: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know. Another motivational book. “Reach your full potential! You can be amazing! Just follow the 29-step plan in this book exactly and the world is yours! Then pay thousands of dollars for our seminars, where we reveal all the secrets you need to know for an amazing life!” Fortunately, this is not that book. This is a book about starting. Start is more than a menu on Windows (at least versions up to Windows 7; I’m not sure about 8). The concept is simple. If you want to do something, start. If you want to be a writer, start writing. If you want to exercise more, start exercising. He identifies 5 stages of activity, Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, Guiding. Traditionally, you would start the Learning phase in your 20s and gradually work your way up to Guiding in your 60s. That’s not the way it is anymore. Thanks to the Internet, you can start anywhere, anytime. The book doesn’t claim that the Internet is some miracle tool that will magically transform your life (like some books I read in the late 1990s-early 2000s). The Internet simply removes some of the traditional barriers that used to hold you back. You go through the steps in order. Don’t worry about making mistakes, that’s just part of the process. The book also says not to settle for average. Dexter Yager, one of the largest distributors in the Amway network, said that average was, “bottom of the top, and top of the bottom. Cream of the crap.” (His words, not mine.) Obviously, there’s no cookie cutter approach to this. The hardest thing in all of this, or any book like this, is to actually do what the book says. Do it, and you could be awesome. No guarantees. The author does mention his availability for speaking engagements, but there aren’t any expensive follow-up seminars. All in all, a good book.

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Kindle Fire Giveaway

23 Jun

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter. June Kindle Fire  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (US Only – $229 Value)

  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

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