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Books For The “Serious Reader” On Your Holiday List

For the more serious readers on your holiday list, I thought I would toss out some ideas today from my own “Must Read” list. Of course, that list gets set aside when I am busy, but I am working my way down!

 

6493208The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.


 

Cutting for Stone

3591262Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

 


16213#1 New York Times Bestseller

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.


 

 

Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World

by C.J. Peters, Mark Olshaker

A New York Times Notable Book249716

The man who led the battle against Ebola in The Hot Zone teams up with the bestselling co-author of Mind Hunter to chronicle his extraordinary thirty-year career fighting deadly viruses.

For three decades, Dr. C. J. Peters was on the front lines of our biological battle against “hot” viruses around the world. In the course of that career, he learned countless lessons about our interspecies turf wars with infectious agents. Called in to contain an outbreak of deadly hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia, he confronted the despair of trying to save a colleague who accidentally infected himself with an errant scalpel. Working in Level 4 labs on the Machupo and Ebola viruses, he saw time and again why expensive high-tech biohazard containment equipment is only as safe as the people who use it.

Because of new, emerging viruses, and the return of old, “vanquished” ones for which vaccines do not exist, there remains a very real danger of a new epidemic that could, without proper surveillance and early intervention, spread worldwide virtually overnight. And the possibility of foreign countries or terrorist groups using deadly airborne viruses—the poor man’s nuclear arsenal—looms larger than ever.

High-octane science writing at its best and most revealing, Virus Hunter is a thrilling first-person account of what it is like to be a warrior in the Hot Zone.


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Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream

by Arianna Huffington (Goodreads Author), Coleen Marlo (Goodreads Author)

It’s not an exaggeration to say that middle-class Americans are an endangered species and that the American Dream of a secure, comfortable standard of living has become as outdated as an Edsel with an eight-track player—that the United States of America is in danger of becoming a third world nation.

The evidence is all around us: Our industrial base is vanishing, taking with it the kind of jobs that have formed the backbone of our economy for more than a century; our education system is in shambles, making it harder for tomorrow’s workforce to acquire the information and training it needs to land good twenty-first-century jobs; our infrastructure—our roads, our bridges, our sewage and water, our transportation and electrical systems—is crumbling; our economic system has been reduced to recurring episodes of Corporations Gone Wild; our political system is broken, in thrall to a small financial elite using the power of the checkbook to control both parties.

And America’s middle class, the driver of so much of our economic success and political stability, is rapidly disappearing, forcing us to confront the fear that we are slipping as a nation—that our children and grandchildren will enjoy fewer opportunities and face a lower standard of living than we did. It’s the dark flipside of the American Dream—an American Nightmare of our own making.

Arianna Huffington, who, with the must-read Huffington Post, has her finger on the pulse of America, unflinchingly tracks the gradual demise of America as an industrial, political, and economic leader. In the vein of her fiery bestseller Pigs at the Trough, Third World America points fingers, names names, and details who is killing the American Dream. Finally, calling on the can-do attitude that is part of America’s DNA, Huffington shows precisely what we need to do to stop our freefall and keep America from turning into a third world nation.

Third World America is a must-listen for anyone disturbed by our country’s steady descent from twentieth-century superpower to backwater banana republic.

 

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Tomorrow Is Thanksgiving – Time To Change It To “Thinksgiving”?

Mohammed Zeyara posted this on Facebook this morning. First, you must realize I have no real idea who this person is, he is simply someone who wound up on my ‘following you’ list. Huh. A guy with over a million followers is following me-how cool is that?

The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation took them 1,000 miles west to Oklahoma, but along the way thousands died from starvation, disease or freezing to death during the winter months of the forced removal. Some estimates say that 55% of the Cherokee Nation died as a direct result of the Trail of Tears. (A Little Matter of Genocide, Churchill)

Anyway, I was reading this, and it really hit home for me. My family on my mother’s side was Quapaw, a Native American Tribe. They were part of the “Great Removal” – the Cherokee Trail of Tears, (other tribes, including Choctaw and Quapaw were gathered up at the same time) carried out by the White Man, shoving us off our lands and into the barrens of Oklahoma onto “Reservations” (think the Japanese Prison Camps in the US during the World Wars).

I always think of this when “Thanksgiving” comes around. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of the holiday. Then I think of all the other atrocities in the world . . .

So, I wrote the following and posted it on Facebook. I think the concept is important enough that I am asking you to read it here. And maybe you will think about meeting my challenge?


A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. – Mahatma Gandhi

Humans are, at base, savage beasts made more savage by their intellect – their ability to plan violence for reasons that have nothing to do with feeding their young or guarding their homes. They do it for power, glory, and wealth. Things a true “savage beast” would never consider. Animals kill for food and for the safety of their young and their family groups. Humans do it because they can.

 At one time or another every human “group” – Native American, African, Catholic, Jew, Christian, Hispanic, Celtic, you name it, have all been the ‘target’ of the rest of the world. Oh, and must I mention gays, lesbians, and women? As long as humans are determined to make themselves “better” than other humans, for ANY REASON we won’t evolve beyond savages, no matter how much “better” we put ourselves forward as being than anyone else.

Here is just one example that brings me immense pain. “White Pride” groups tell Hispanics that they should get out of “Their” country – and yet, this was Hispanic/Native American land long before the white armies came in and overran their country. If White groups want everyone “other” to go home, shouldn’t they load up the boats and go back to Europe? This is simply an example, not a rant, just a point – – – NO ONE  is without guilt, and NOTHING in this world will become better until we all decide to look beyond skin colour, religion, sex, race, and all those other “reasons” for fomenting hatred.

Maybe, for this Holiday season, everyone should consider meeting a person they most fear, whether because of their skin colour, race, sexual orientation, whatever, I don’t care. And I encourage you to sit down with them over a cup of tea and really get to know the PERSON. Are you brave enough to do that? To face your fears and prejudices, to reach out with your mind and heart and learn? You may be surprised to learn just how similar you are….I have no great love for Christians, for many, many reasons, but that doesn’t keep me from considering a local minister a dear friend. We share a love of gardening, of food and books and many other things that have nothing to do with her religion and everything to do with her being a genuinely good person. I cherish the things we share, and honour the things we don’t. Maybe, one person at a time, we can learn to accept our differences?

noam

Quirks: Deception in Romance

Deception. It is all around us, choking the life out of us, isn’t it? I got this post from Books, Life, & Wine: On The Run From The Amazon Empire today, and just as I did, my phone rang.
Some guy, probably Filipino, called and tried to convince me that he was from Microsoft Support and that he wanted to dial into my computer to “fix a virus” – HAH! AS IF!! When I told him I had just pulled up Microsoft Chat Support to verify him, he hung up – FAST~! Guy at support said that they were getting a lot of complaints about that, but are they sending out warning emails??

NOOOOOOOOOOO ….. asshats! I suppose Microsoft is more interested in protecting their own bulging backside than protecting their customers. Like everyone I know, I do all my banking and bill paying online. How disastrous would it be to have these bastards just swoop in and steal all your money, your logons, your retirement accounts??? I don’t have that much money, as anyone who follows me knows – my cancer wiped me out, literally. But for those of you who do have retirement accounts, etc.?

The new freedom of expression brought by the Internet goes far beyond politics. People relate to each other in new ways, posing questions about how we should respond to people when all that we know about them is what we have learned through a medium that permits all kinds of anonymity and deception.”- Peter Singer

Why doesn’t this fall under Terrorism Laws? Who is to say that the funds they steal from innocent people doesn’t GO to fund terrorism?

books, life, & wine

We all have our personal quirks – things that just light our fire or work our nerves like nails on chalkboard…

Hey, we’re all human.

I try to be as honest as I can (with myself and those very few people who read my reviews) about how I feel about the books I read. I really try to take as much time as I can to discover what it is I like or dislike about any particular book. Being honest with myself requires me to own up to some of my personal quirks.

So today I want to talk about my issue(s) with deception.

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Review: THE Vixen AND THE VET By Katy Regnery

THE Vixen AND THE VET By Katy Regnery

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Click to purchase The Vixen and the Vet – do your part for our Veterans!

As Independence Day approaches, it is wonderfully easy to look forward to taking a day to wave our flags and shake the hands of those who have served our country overseas in order to assure our freedom. We dress up, walk in parades, shoot firecrackers and eat barbecue, drink gallons of beer, then return to our homes and our jobs feeling self-satisfied that we have done our bit to “honor our soldiers.” But is that even close to being enough?

Katy Regnery has created something wonderful with “The Vixen and the Vet.” With what is ostensibly romance novel, she has brought front and center a dark side of the human psyche – the ability of the American government, and the American populace, to ignore the real costs to the soldiers who often give not only their lives, but their bodies, minds and souls to the machines of war.

After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher Lee’s hand and destroyed his face, the former football star and small town hero returned to Danvers, VA a broken man. Scorned and vilified by the populace due to his destroyed visage, he retreats to his house on the hill and immerses himself in his library. Never leaving his house, he relies on Miss Potts, his retired second-grade teacher, to act as his interface with the outside world.

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They give us their lives. Give them something back – the right to hold their heads up. When you click through THE PHOTOS AREN’T PRETTY – THEY AREN’T MEANT TO BE – But THESE are just some of the soldiers you are helping!

Eight years later, Savannah Carmichael appears on the scene. An up-and-coming journalist for the New York Sentinel, Savannah has committed the ultimate journalistic sin for a “hard news” reporter. She allowed her libido to cloud her judgment, relying upon a highly unreliable source for a career-making article. Fired and disgraced, Savannah has returned to her family in Danvers to try to rebuild her life. When an opportunity appears, seemingly out of the blue, to write a human interest story for the Phoenix Times, Savannah sees it as her first step to regaining her reputation and her life. And approaching Asher Lee for an interview, just in time for the Fourth of July, seems just the story to save her. The problem is, it isn’t just the townsfolk who are culpable when it comes to betrayal, deceit and viciousness.

As stated before, this is a romance novel, but it is so much more than that. Katy has written a book which, though it doesn’t hit you over the head with it, it still strongly points out how badly we let down our soldiers. Especially those who return with physical, mental and emotional damage.

opmend
Click to learn more about Operation Mend!

In order to help, Katy has written this novel as a fundraiser, with 50% of her profits in June and July going directly to Operation Mend at the UCLA Medical Center. UCLA Operation Mend is a groundbreaking program that provides returning military personnel access to the nation’s top plastic and reconstructive surgeons, as well as comprehensive medical and mental-health support for the wounded and their families. By offering cutting edge reconstructive facial surgery, prosthetics and intensive therapy to those heroes with calamitous injuries, Operation Mend helps our returning warriors live fuller and more comfortable lives once home.

Blaine and Blaine Jr. web
No soldier should have to hide his face from his family.

And now, a personal plea. A Starbucks® Mocha Frappuccino Grande is normally $3.75. This book is $3.99, and it is for an amazing cause. So, grab your wallet and let a wounded veteran know, if only in this small way, how much you appreciate them. They suffer, fight and die for YOU so you can remain safe. This is so little to ask to ascertain that when they return they may continue to live happy, productive lives among their friends and family members without suffering the pain of the scorn and fear of those whom they protect.

THANK YOU

operation-mend Katy Regnery’s newest contemporary romance, THE VIXEN AND THE VET, is available TODAY!!  Not only is this incredibly moving love story receiving unanimous praise from reviewers and early readers, but it was written as a fundraiser to help the returning wounded in our armed forces. 50% of Katy’s profits will benefit Operation Mend at the UCLA Medical Center. Pick up a copy today!

Amazon (US): http://ow.ly/y5yBt
Amazon (UK): http://ow.ly/y5yxa
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/y5yER
Apple: http://ow.ly/y5yI6
Smashwords: http://ow.ly/y5yLa
Paperback (Amazon US): http://ow.ly/y5yO5

katy
Click to go to Katy’s Website!

KATY REGNERY, award-winning romance novelist, has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own.
As it turned out, one love story turned into a series of five Heart of Montana romances, following the love lives of the Yellowstone-based Lindstrom siblings, their friends and family. Katy is also the author of the Enchanted Places series, launching in January 2014 with Playing for Love at Deep Haven, which will be followed by an additional seven books throughout 2014-2016.

Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods. And she’s delighted to share that her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.

I just un-liked your author page on Facebook | Greta van der Rol

As you probably know, I am a big fan and follower of the works of Greta van der Rol, especially her Tiger series. As such, I nearly fell out of my chair this morning when I got the following from Greta:

I just un-liked your author page on Facebook | Greta van der Rol

greta
Check out Greta’s site by clicking on her photo!

Then, of course, I took a deep breath and read the whole article. Ms. Greta makes an exceptional point. Is it really worth it to try to advertise on Facebook any longer?

Check out the Youtube video below by Veritasium:

And this one by Thoughts Awakening:

So. What do you think? Is Facebook on the way out? And should Google limit what links you should see? In my mind, tailoring, or filtering your information limits your knowledge, and that is always a bad thing. . . .

Review: Horrorscope by Brian Evans

horror
Click for the Goodreads page.

“After there is great trouble among mankind, a greater one is prepared. The great mover of the universe will renew time, rain, blood, thirst, famine, steel weapons and disease. In the heavens, a fire seen.” – Michel de Nostredame

Quantum mechanics broke the mold of the previous framework, classical mechanics, by establishing that the predictions of science are necessarily probabilistic. – Brian Greene

Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. – George Bernard Shaw

It starts out simply enough. But then, doesn’t everything? Almost as a joke: “A woman walks in for a psychic reading . . .” The only thing is, the woman gets more than she asked for. And when that woman is crazy, well, interesting things can happen.

But that is another part of the story, isn’t it? For Helen Wilson, a 62-year-old psychic who gives half-hour readings for $25 is much more than she seems, though even she doesn’t realize it. But others soon will.

In another part of town, really bad people are doing what they usually do – really bad things. Luigi Nicolo is one of those people, though he is admittedly more of a yippy little Rat Terrier than a rabid attack dog. But Luigi was part of the pack, a small time thug on the leash of a very big, very vicious and coldly brutal mafia family. A family led by one Anthony Christopher Nicolo – AC for short. And what is about to happen with AC and his “family” could bring about the end of the world. For Luigi and Helen are about to cross paths. And when they do, forces which have been held in abeyance for thousands of years will rise up – and who and what controls those forces may control the world.

“Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.”
– Michel de Nostredame – Latinized to Nostradamus

The thing I most admired about Brian Evans “Horrorscope” is how quirky it is. It should have been trite, with its ubiquitous Evil Mafia Family, Unasumming Psychic, Good But Burned Out Cop tropes. Instead, Evans twists the expected into something entirely new, bringing a fresh aspect to his literary world. The penultimate twist he throws in is one I haven’t noted before in the Horror/Fantasy genre, as he reaches back in time to bring forward an ordinary object, turning it into an item of wonder and power beyond belief. For the table that Helen Wilson uses is not just any table – it is a piece beyond compare – the writing table of Michel de Nostredame. Beautifully carved in the signs of the Zodiac, this table has travelled the world, appearing and then disappearing, apparently at its own whim. And now, it sits in the humble home of a 62-year-old woman who will try to point you to the right path – if you are willing to follow. But AC Nicolo is certainly not looking for the path of good. And where the path he travels leads is what makes this one of the better horror genre books I have read this year.

There are drawbacks. Mr. Evans could use a good editorial staff. The language, especially in the descriptions of the mafia and the happenings surrounding them, needs to be tightened up. There are repetitive phrases and over descriptive areas that could definitely stand to be trimmed. It slows the narrative and causes unnecessary distractions to an “edge-of-the-seat” feeling necessary in the genre. This is more an outcome of inexperience than of incapability, and a sharp red pencil could help a lot of that. However, I was able to overlook that once I truly got into the story and things began to move quickly into the true story line. I hope Mr. Evans will find someone to sharpen his work – it could raise the book from merely good to excellent.

Brian sent me one of his favorite excerpts from the book:

People ran for their lives as they saw what they could not possibly be seeing walk right by them. The Cancer was on a mission to find something, or someone, and nothing was going to get in its way. Looking from left to right, moving full-steam ahead, the Cancer stopped only when it walked past a restaurant that had a water tank filled with about a hundred crabs piled onto one another as they waited to be dinner for some patron. Looking at the crabs in the tank, the Cancer swiped its claw right through the window of the restaurant, slicing the tank clear in half as the crabs found freedom on the streets of Chinatown, all heading for the sewers. It wasn’t gonna be a beautiful sandy beach, but for the crabs, it sure did beat being next to a salad.

If that doesn’t tweak your fancy, nothing will!

Overall, I will recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the horror genre, but fantasy lovers should enjoy the book also.

This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. Read below for more information on Brian Evans his mother, Helen Marie Bousquet. The book, Horrorscope is currently in negotiations to be a major motion picture, and will also be a comic book series.

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Brian Evans and his mother, Helen Marie Bousquet. Click the link to go to the link for Ms. Bousquet and the fight to bring attention to sleep apnea. Ms. Bousquet unfortunately lost her life to this insidious killer after being left unattended in a recovery room after minor surgery. Mr. Evans dedicates this book to his beloved mother, who is greatly missed.

Tom Hanks has introduced my mother’s website because he is a nice guy, and to honor her.

I don’t know what is more interesting, the story of Horrorscope came about, or the story of Brian himself. Author, actor, singer, and composer, with a little bit of con-man thrown in. Evans grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and soon became a big-band music fanatic, and a huge fan of crooners like Frank Sinatra. He moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to pursue a career in the entertainment business, landing roles in commercials, then television series such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Full House, as well as the New Line Cinema production of Book of Love.

As an author, he wrote an autobiography, Dreamer, in 1994, and was one of the writers and creators of the potential comic book series Horrorscope. As a singer, he has released several albums, mostly in Canada. In June of 1993 he was convicted of felony theft for impersonating radio personality Casey Kasem and charging nearly $3,000 to a Los Angeles travel agency in Mr. Kasem’s name. Sentenced to six months probation, he violated that probation by leaving the state of California in 1993 to sing the national anthem at an Fenway Park, filming a video with William Shatner playing the umpire, a gambit that landed him in prison for a year.

ppahsTragically, on October 5, 2012, Brian’s beloved mother, Helen Marie Bousquet died after what should have been a simple knee surgery. Evans stated that his mother, who suffered from sleep apnea, was not monitored by hospital staff, did not have her sleep apnea machine, and “was dosed out on morphine” at the time of her death. Her death has led to multiple lawsuits against the system which owned the hospital, the city of Hampton Beach Selectmen and other entities. Now, Evans is fighting for the rights of hospital patients and others in his bid to become a United States Senator for the State of Hawaii.

Horrorscope II is in the writing process as we speak!

Review: The Janus Effect by Jan Coffey – Brilliant!

janus
Click to order from Amazon. You won’t be sorry you did.

Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger … for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created…. The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. – Christopher Hitchens

They’d lived in a country that was run by a butcher. That did not make them butchers. In fact, they were just the opposite. – Jan Coffey, The Janus Effect

 The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost. – M. Scott Peck

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No one was exempt from the slaughter as nerve gas, biological and chemical weapons slaughtered even the youngest amongst the population.

In 1988, with the full might of the US Government and the force of the Regan White House behind him, Saddam Hussain facilitated what was known as “The Anfal Campaign.” Named for the eighth sura, or chapter, of the Qur’an, Saddam’s Anfal was a mammoth campaign of civic annihilation, displacement and mass killing. Saddam tapped his cousin, Ali Hassan al–Majid, a man well–known for his brutality, to take charge of northern Iraq. Al–Majid quickly deployed military resources to, in his words, “solve the Kurdish problem and slaughter the saboteurs.” He ordered Iraqi aircraft to drop poison gas on PUK and KDP targets and civilian villages, killing thousands indiscriminately. The Iraqi regime had become the first in history to attack its own civilian population with chemical weapons. Al–Majid came to be known as “Chemical Ali.”

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No warning. No pity.

There were eight Anfal attacks in all, each following a similar pattern. First, air attacks dropped chemical weapons on both civilian and peshmerga targets. Next, ground troops surrounded the villages, looting and setting fire to homes. Then townspeople were herded into army trucks and taken to holding facilities, the largest being Topzawa, an army camp near Kirkuk. At these camps, men and boys deemed old enough to carry a weapon were separated from women, the elderly and young children. Routinely and uniformly, these men and boys were taken to remote sites, executed in groups, and dumped into pre–dug mass graves. Many women and children were also executed, especially those from areas that supported the Kurdish resistance. – Dave Johns, The Crimes of Saddam Hussein, 1988: The Anfal Campaign

 When the dust, chemicals, and biological weapons had settled, 90 percent of Kurdish villages had essentially been wiped off the map, and the countryside was strewn with mass graves, and with land mines to discourage resettlement. The response from the international community was muted, as many nations, including the United States, had supported Hussein with money and arms during the Iran–Iraq war.

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They fell where they stood – women, children, men, pets. Those who didn’t die right away are still suffering the effects of the poisonings. . .

 

“Half of writing history is hiding the truth.”― Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy

One of the worst of these attacks was against the city of Halabja, a peaceful, working class Kurdish city. Al-Majid ordered the destruction of the city with chemical and biological weapons, including mustard gas, nerve gasses such as sarin, VX and hydrogen cyanide, and a new, unidentified gas “that made people crazy (they tore off their clothes, laughed for a while and then dropped dead). Around 8000 died immediately. Overall, hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Kurdistan were slaughtered, without pity. And yet, what do we, the American People, know of the atrocities committed by our government in our insane quest for cheap oil?

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One of hundreds of mass graves that have been uncovered, with others still unfound.

 

Out of this wasteland of indiscriminate death and destruction begins The Janus Effect, one of the strongest novels I have ever read. Utilizing strong research, close ties with the people of Kurdistan, and a depth of personal compassion that is unmatched, Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick, writing as Jan Coffey, have written a novel that deserves to be on every person’s reading list. And yes, you really should read it, not just let it sit there and look pretty on the shelf. This is an amazing and horrifying story that will send chills up your back, and make you think, long and hard, about the meaning and reality of true evil.

In the middle of nowhere Maine, something has happened. Something horrific; unbelievable; and frightening beyond words. Two families have arrived on a small coastal island for a summer vacation. Within a matter of hours, they are all dead and rotting with unimaginable speed. Soon, those that find the bodies are also dead. Ten fatalities, within hours rotted beyond recognition. Only one aspect is possibly familiar. A strand of bacteria found in a bombed out lab in Iraq in 1988 shows many of the same constituents of this new, deadly killer. And to learn about that bacteria, what it is, and how it is developed, Austyn Newman is traveling to Afghanistan, to the infamous Brickyard Prison, there to question the one person who may have answers – the scientist who developed the bacteria in Sadaam’s laboratories. Traded between various “black” prisons for the past five years, Dr. Rahaf Banaz has been lost in a system of total isolation, a ghost, with no record, no rights, and having never been charged with, or convicted of, a crime. Questioned, tortured, and finally left to rot, Newman finds his quarry in a hole in the Brickyard, cramped into a cell so small she cannot even stand. Starved, shaved bald, and with only a filthy blanket, she is, indeed, a ghost of a human being. And she is, he believes upon meeting her, something else as well. She may not even be Dr. Banaz.

As the story unfolds, Newman and Dr. Banaz, Dr. Fahimah Banaz, Rahaf’s sister who has taken Rahaf’s place in prison in order to allow Rahaf to continue her medical relief work, travel from the Brickyard at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan through the ruins of cities and the beauty of the stark mountain landscape to the city of Kermanshah, Iran, in search of Rahaf, in search of answers. And during their travels, we learn too of the atrocities of sadistic politicians, both Eastern and Western, the horrors of the victims of war, and the lengths humans will go to in order to destroy one another for power, money and glory. And also? Also, the lengths that humans will go to in order to save and protect those they love. And even those they do not know.

This is a powerful story. Thriller, suspense, medical thriller, history, it’s all there, wrapped up in a story to break any thinking person’s heart. Lies and deception; truth and brutal honesty; and above all the agony of a people forgotten, written off by a culture that cares not for those who are crushed under the weight of a brutal, sadistic war machine. With heartbreaking twists at the end, this story written from the outlook of someone who loves the country and its people should be honored for both it’s excellence and heart.

“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

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“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.” – Dwight David Eisenhower

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I received this book from StoryCartel.com in return for a realistic review. I highly recommend that you read it. I got a nice note from the authors, it was indeed a proof copy I received. It has been professionally edited.

 

A Thought Provoking Video To Remind Us Of The Sacrifice Our Military Makes For Us

This video is from The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF). I will warn you that it is heartrending, both horrifying and hopeful at the same time. At Easter time, we should give a thought to the sacrifice of our military men and women, and how much they suffer for us. And exactly why they are suffering. Is it truly for the safety and security of our people? Or are they simply cogs in the machine that cranks out money for corporations and governments? Are our attacks to protect us, or to assure our oil supplies? Whatever it may be, THANK YOU to The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF) for this amazing commercial.

 

And more videos about the healing of dogs for returning warriors with PTSD

 

 

 

And finally – the dogs give you drugs and prescriptions – but Service Dogs could do SO MUCH! Tell the VA that you support Service Dogs for Returning Veterans!!!!

 

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