Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Her cancer is back

You may remember a few years ago, I did a post asking for help for my friend Christina Small who needed a bone marrow transplant to battle Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare blood cancer.

Well, she had the transplant in April 2010. She was given a 30% chance of surviving the transplant. She pulled this off, made it through all the chemo, the side effects of the chemo, the long hospital stay, etc., etc.

And Christina's had two amazing, great, glorious years with her husband and two kids (daughter is now 13 years old, son is 11). 

Sadly, depressingly, frustratingly, (I can't think of a strong enough "ly" word, well, at least not a word that I'm comfortable using on this blog), the damn leukemia is back. For the third time.

Christina has two-three months left to live.

I can't believe I just typed that.

Two-three months.

What do you do with news like that? 

Well, Christina wants to spend more fun, happy times with her husband and kids. In keeping with that spirit, we're raising money to send the Small family to Disneyland for a few days and nights (any extra money will be used for spending money, a hot-air balloon ride and something to do with horses or whatever grabs Christina's fancy). If you'd like to help, click here to donate.

If you live in the San Diego area and would like to help with dinners, click here. Sign up, then type in The Small Family. (They live in the RB area.)

If you want to keep up with Christina's story, she posts here.

And if you could possibly do whatever it is you do--pray, meditate, send positive thoughts, all that will be greatly appreciated too.

The Small Family

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Book Review Club (May 2013)

May?! Are you serious?! Where did April take off to?

Welcome to the May meeting of our little online book review club. We've put together reviews of books we've read and enjoyed. So, please click through the links under my review. Settling in with a good book is a surefire way to slow life down. A way to stop and smell the roses. Uh, er, ink.  ;)


Do not fall off your chair, but I am actually reviewing a book for adults this month! Even more shocking, it's non-fiction!

As  you may or may not know, I finish a book by Elinor Lipman and then begin the wait for the next book. So, you can imagine how beyond thrilled I was to discover this spring would bring not one, but two books by one of my favorite authors.

I CAN'T COMPLAIN is a collection of short essays that were written for a variety of venues (magazines, newspapers, websites). The essays are about Ms. Lipman's mother, son, husband, friends, herself, her thoughts on writing. Reading these essays was like having Ms. Lipman in my living room. Minus having to clean my living room! I loved being a part of her inner circle and listening to stories about how she and her husband originally planned not to have children. How her mother couldn't stand condiments. How son learned the facts of life. How she's dealing with life after her husband's death. I could've used her questions for a potential marriage partner a couple of decades ago!

With a book by Elinor Lipman, I know I can get comfy in my favorite chair, crack open the pages and kickback. Because I trust this author to come through for me. She doesn't settle.  She's going to come up with that perfect word, that perfect turn of phrase. She's going to toss in her signature humor at just the right moment because her timing is always oh-so perfect. ( For example, pointing out how her husband put the "mensch" in "dementia" in the chapter about his disease. )  I always walk away from a Lipman book satisfied and feeling good.

What up next for me book-wise? THE VIEW FROM PENTHOUSE B by Elinor Lipman. Of course.

Without further ado, here are the links to this month's AMAZING AND THOUGHTFUL reviews! You don't want to miss them.


 Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: GHOULISH SONG by William Alexander (middle grade fantasy)

Stacy Nyikos: THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate (middle grade)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody (young adult)


Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: TEMPEST RISING by Nicole Peeler (urban fantasy)

Patti Abbott: BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent (historical)

Sarah Laurence: TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki (literary) 

Scott Parker: CALIBAN'S WAR by James S.A. Corey (science fiction)


 Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country:THE WORLD IS MOVING AROUND ME: A MEMOIR OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE by Danyy Laferriere

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!