Review: Misdiagnosed (The Search for Dr. House)

Synopsis

When a lymphoma scare threatened the life of a journalist, she began a quest to find the correct medical diagnosis for the mysterious illness she’d battled for nearly 20 years. She turned to her favorite TV show, House M.D., for inspiration. She used her research skills to look for a “real life” Gregory House to give her some answers. In this brutally honest memoir, Nika Beamon reveals how she found the doctor who saved her and how you can too. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House by Nika C. Beamon caught my full attention. Everybody knows who Dr. House is. The title peaked my interest. I found this memoir interesting. A young female journalist is struck by a life threatening illness. Her search for a real life version of Dr. House was inspiring. Misdiagnosed is a sad, heartbreaking, and brave journey. The journey made me wary for the writer. I was worried as she went through all the exams, pills, and diagnosises. Searching endlessly for the right doctor proved difficult. But Nika C. Beamon never stopped her search. Her determination and strength is inspiring. A hope to all who suffer greatly. Overall, I greatly encourage readers worldwide to read this tale. 

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Review: Madame President 



Synopsis:

The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the 2005 Liberian presidential election, she demolished a barrier few thought possible, obliterating centuries of patriarchal rule to become the first female elected head of state in Africa’s history. Madame President is the inspiring, often heartbreaking story of Sirleaf’s evolution from an ordinary Liberian mother of four boys to international banking executive, from a victim of domestic violence to a political icon, from a post-war president to a Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper deftly weaves Sirleaf’s personal story into the larger narrative of the coming of age of Liberian women. The highs and lows of Sirleaf’s life are filled with indelible images; from imprisonment in a jail cell for standing up to Liberia’s military government to addressing the United States Congress, from reeling under the onslaught of the Ebola pandemic to signing a deal with Hillary Clinton when she was still Secretary of State that enshrined American support for Liberia’s future.
Sirleaf’s personality shines throughout this riveting biography. Ultimately, Madame President is the story of Liberia’s greatest daughter, and the universal lessons we can all learn from this “Oracle” of African women.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Madame President by Helene Cooper is an inspiring read. Women everywhere will be awed at the work done by one woman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She has gone beyond any other woman of her time in a country that mistreated women as objects. Here, I got to follow the brave and clever woman as she rose from just a mother to a president of a nation. Going to prison, suffering like every other woman has done…,yet she managed to rise dispite the hardships that fell upon her. I was amazed. She kept on going even when it might have meant the end for her. Writer, Helene Cooper, has brought Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s life alive on these pages for All to see. Just when I thought I have seen, heard, and know it all…this book brought out more than just a woman struggling to rise among men of her country. It’s a story of survival, courage, determination as well as breaking barriers. Overall, I recommend this nonfiction piece on one of the most compelling stories of a woman to readers everywhere.

Review: Pepper’s Ghost

Pepper's Ghost by [Auten, William]

 

Synopsis:

Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

Pepper’s Ghost by William Auten is a YA read that will lure readers into its depth. The young character, Charlotte Alexandra, aka Alex, is interesting. She is unlike most leading female characters. What she really is surprised me…her journey was one wild roller-coaster ride after another.  The dynamics of family life are played throughout this read. The parents make the life for Alex a bit more complex than should be. I liked how as a main character she was constantly challenged. Alex took on each challenge moving through life the best she could do. Sometimes things worked out and sometimes not. William Auten portrayed the realities of life along with fantasy in way the just made readers like myself more curious. Memories…and emotions were strong, it was easy to be swept up within them. Pepper’s Ghost is a coming of age tale that comes off as entertaining, mysterious, and deep. The plot was developed and the pace was steady. Overall, I recommend it to all.

Review: Surviving Mental Illness (My Story)


Synopsis:

The Road to Recovery…

Written from the perspective of someone whose life has been challenged by mental illness, this book offers help, hope, and inspiration to others struggling with psychological disorders. It provides information about mental illness in general—and mood disorders in particular—valuable tips about treatment and medication, and resources and organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from these disorders. 

Surviving Mental Illness helps break through the fear and stigma of mental illness and focuses on how to find health and happiness. The author shares her personal journey: the heartbreak and challenges of bipolar disorder, and the joy of making her way back to mental health. Through her own story, she shows that help is out there, and with a little faith, recovery is possible. 

My faith in G-d has led me to recover in ways you cannot imagine. Life is having faith to overcome any obstacles, and that is what my recovery from mental illness is all about.
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Linda Naomi Katz’s book, Surviving Mental Illness, is a must read for all. Not just to educate ourselves on mental illnesses or to make ourselves more aware of what it’s like for those suffering from them, but to put ourselves inside their shoes. As a college student I took course in sociology. They all mentioned a term called stigma. That is a term for the labels that a society forces upon a person of group of people. It’s not a good thing. In fact, we all should steal clear of stigmas. But we’re humans and we fall into society’s trap. Until we’re the ones suffering from it. I fell in love with the writer’s book for many reasons. One it talked about the stigma issues on those with mental illnesses. Second, it led through Linda Naomi Katz’s journey as she battled her own mental illness. Her life journey was both inspiring and educational. I want to hug the writer. She went through a lot and worked hard to get to where she is. The ending doesn’t just end with the book. Both her and her husband work in discussing and teaching others about mental illnesses. I was surprised that these two amazing people didn’t let life get to them. Instead they both embraced it and with determination succeeded. I recently was forced to watch a TED speaker for a recent class of mine. It was about failure. Failure was defined as giving up instead of pursuing our goals or dreams. It talked about grit. Grit being the passion to continue in life when all seems hopeless. If we have grit like Linda Naomi Katz did, then we are successful no matter what. This book reinforced that TED talk. I truly believe and felt that this book, Surviving Mental Illness has what it takes to make a difference in this world. Whether it’s to bring an awareness, to stop the stigma against those with mental illnesses or to educate us what it’s all about…the book’s contents will stay with me forever. I found it very inspiring and plan to share this with as many people as possible. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere. 

Review: A Middle Class Dream Coast to Coast

A Middle Class Dream: Coast to Coast - US Edition by [Thakur, Kamlesh]

 

Synopsis:

In the pouring rain, while her husband is out of town, a woman gives birth to her second child: Krish. Raised in a typical Indian family in Mumbai and later in Chennai. Krish deals with the struggles typical too many.

His caste determines much about his life, and cultural ideology limit his potential. His family’s progressive ideas about women cause the neighbors in Chennai to resent them, culminating in the murder of Krish’s sister.

The family flees the neighborhood, and Krish works hard in school to make a better life for himself. At school, he meets his first love, Sweetie, but his love is unrequited, leading him to feel years of rejection. His continued pursuit of Sweetie over the years yields no results, and it is perhaps this rejection that forces him to strive so hard in his own life.

Though he obtains a college degree with average grades, he is able to get a decent job in the fiercely competitive IT services industry. Against all odds, his perseverance and determination allow him to rise to the top, and when a massive downsizing occurs, he finds he is one of the few remaining employees. The downsizing forces him to move overseas and leave his new wife behind in India. This ends up being one of many overseas adventures, as he lives and travels coast to coast, to places such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, US, Switzerland, and Europe.

Eventually, he and his wife decide to move to New York and create a new life together in the US. It is here where Krish devotes himself to fitness and discovers an uncanny ability to make the best of himself despite genetic limitations. Eventually, he and his wife move to Houston, Texas, and life couldn’t get much better.

From his humble beginnings, Krish was able to persevere and become a wealthy, self-made success story. In an effort to share his success with the world, he writes a book of his life, which ends up being turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, starring Krish himself.

This naturally leads to more wealth & fame, and Krish devotes himself to philanthropy, as he develops a new communal center devoted to education, healthcare and more.

A Middle Class Dream is a truly astounding tale of the American dream and self-betterment.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

A Middle Class Dream Coast to Coast by Kamlesh Thakur is by far an interesting and compelling read. I have recently taken several sociology courses that went over the life of those who live in a caste system. Making it out of that life is hard and only those with lots of wealth can move up and out of the system. Life in the Indian family is indeed an engaging and fascinating thing to read about, as well as imaging how they manage to keep living that way when the rest of the world has moved to more complex societies. The main character, Krish, reminds me of a movie that was similar to this. A poor Indian boy who lived in the slums lost everything but stayed in contact with the girl who he loved. Eventually, he made tons of money for them both to live well and that is similar to this tale. Kamlesh Thakur is a superb writer. His fictional masterpiece brings readers deep into a poor yet highly cultural society that lives in a caste-like system. Depending on what caste your family is in…that basically determines an Indian’s whole life unless they find a way to rise above it all. Struggles, determination, and a bit of success and make a huge impact on an Indian man’s life including the character, Krish. He alone is an inspiration to his people that working hard and not giving up are worth every struggle. I found the entire book entertaining, educational, and inspiring. A Middle Class Dream Coast to Coast is definitely worth every readers’ attention. From culture to travel to dreams and success, this novel is a must read for all. Overall, I highly recommend it.

Review: Leaving Independence

 

Synopsis:

Abigail Baldwyn might not be a widow after all…

Ever since she received word that her husband, Robert, was killed in the Civil War, Abigail has struggled to keep her Tennessee home and family together. Then a letter arrives claiming that Robert isn’t dead, yet he has no plans to return. Desperate for answers, Abigail travels to Independence, Missouri, where she joins a westbound wagon train to find him.

Leading a company along the Oregon Trail isn’t part of Hoke Mathews’s plans. But then the former cavalry scout gets a glimpse of Abigail—so elegant compared to the rest of their hardscrabble wagon community, yet spirited and resilient. Through every peril, they encounter—snakebites, Indian raids, fevers, dangerous grudges—his bond with Abigail grows.

Abigail knew this journey would test her courage. Now it’s testing her marriage vows and her heart, daring her to claim a future on her own terms in a land rich with promise.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Leaving Independence by Leanne W. Smith is well-written. Immediately, I was swept up into the story. The intrigue of a man thought to be dead but then told was alive…takes readers on a journey following a brave mother going to find her husband. She and her children look for answers. Answers are exactly what they get. But whether they are the ones they wanted is left to discover. Then, there’s more to the mystery…as well as a sweet surprise. A  brave hardworking man for the wagon train finds himself constantly coming to the woman’s aid. Something between them brews up…and only time will tell if they can find happiness again.

Leanne W. Smith brought a realistic western travel tale that readers everywhere will love. Family, faith, and courage are tested inside this novel. The character’s hardships were believable. The dangers ahead were three dimensional. I enjoyed following a family as they moved forward…the Oregon Trail. Things like the Civil War were masterfully woven for readers’ entertainment. Overall, I highly recommend this sweet historical piece to all. Leaving Independence is definitely a must read.