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February Book Reviews

Something Powerful to Consider

By Gini Rainey

“Sister Secrets: A Brother’s Reveal” by Matthew Valan

This book is an interesting delve into the memories of a family torn apart by the mental illnesses of two of the author’s sisters. Set in the farmlands of western Minnesota and neighboring North Dakota, Valan began writing this book with the intention to help himself work through the relationships and events that brought one sister to a terrible automobile accident that caused her death, and the other to a point where killing her husband seemed to be the only option she had to be free of her marriage.

While terribly sad and tragic, writing this book helped Valan, a Lutheran Minister and respected speaker on the topics of youth, family, and education, sort through his memories and come to a semblance of peace with the history of his sisters, Cordee and Liz. While not necessarily a contributory factor to their psychosis, both sisters were victims of sexual abuse by a farmhand when young, and by the time they reached adulthood, their mental illnesses began wreaking havoc on, not only their lives, but also on the lives of those around them.

And while the original purpose of this book was a sort of purge and sorting out of feelings for Valan, it also opens a door on a subject often times not openly discussed in “polite” company – that of mental illness. Through his writing, he was able to find a measure of healing from the turmoil and pain created over the years as a result of the actions of his siblings.

If nothing else, this book is an encouragement for anyone who might also have had their life touched by the effects of mental illness, and also proves the healing power that writing down painful memories and happenings can have on the heart and soul.

Rating: 5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – North Dakota State University Press

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UT Tyler Seeking Participants for 3rd Year of ‘Born to Read’ Program

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Program promotes early language and literacy in young children

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that it is seeking participants for the third year of the “Born to Read” literacy program, which promotes early childhood literacy in East Texas.

“The purpose of this program is to encourage children’s early language and literacy skills, while also helping parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most valuable teacher,” said Dr. Kouider Mokhtari, UT Tyler Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor of Literacy Education.

“We provide parents with training and an initial tool kit of books and resources that   help and encourage them to raise children as readers,” said Dr. M. Sathyamoorthy, UT Tyler professor of mechanical engineering, who has coordinated support for the program from the Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club.

The Born to Read program is designed for expectant mothers, parents and legal guardians of children up to 3 years old. The program is free to the first 25 participants who register by Monday, Sept. 30. Participants will be involved in the program through June 30, 2020.

To register or for more information, contact Azalia Perez, aperez18@patriots.uttyler.edu or 903.566.7016.

Other program sponsors include Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and UT Tyler K-16 Literacy Center.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT BEVERLEY GOLDEN

bgolden@uttyler.edu | 903.330.0495

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Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More

From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out EGuideMagazine.com ‘s entire

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Reading the Kids Back to School

stretford tyler tx

By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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