An Excellent Review of Memories are Precious by Dr. Maxine Thompson

Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story

By Fran Lewis

Reviewed by Dr. Maxine Thompson

Where does the love go when one has Alzheimer’s Disease? This is the question posed in Fran Lewis’ moving memoir, Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story. Of course, the love goes nowhere; it just changes forms. The main place it remains is in the “precious memories” and in the hearts of the loved ones.

Lewis wrote this book as a tribute to her mother’s life before and after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Ruth had once been a vibrant, loving woman who was the matriarch of the family, and a friend to many in her community.

Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story, shares the journey of the author’s mother, Rush Swedloff,  who has lived with the disease for the past six years. It also shows the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on the family and on the community. According to          Alzeimher’s Disease affects  5.3 million people and is the seventh leading cause of death.

In a panoramic sweep, Fran examines the life of  her mother, Ruth Swerdloff, through the eyes of those who love her, through her mother’s blog before the Alzheimer’s disease progressed, and at one point, through the point of view a toy bunny, which was at her mother’s side during a serious surgery.

Memories are Precious is an eclectic collection of photos, letters, and poems from Ruth’s  grandchildren, from her adult children, from her neighbors.

The book changes voices throughout the story, which gives the book a fresh  human twist. The collection of journal-sounding entries, poems, and memories from others who have been affected by the disease adds layer to this true human story.

The book opens with Ruth’s own words. We learn about her life as a child, then as a young woman, and as an older woman. She tells how she experienced the early signs of the disease, from forgetting things, to eventually getting sick. She provides insights into the disease that many people are still mystified by.

In turn, Francine relates what she saw as changes in her mother’s behavior, from forgetting to wandering to getting lost.

The story tells some of the medical challenges her mother went through before the Alzheimer’s set in. One of my favorite sections is how, in 1993, Francine flew her mother on a private jet to have surgery in California. There were a series of mishaps, but they made it. The author went through the proverbial hell and high water to make sure her mother got the best of medical care, and it worked. Subsequently, with her mother’s strong spirit and Francine’s advocacy, Ruth lived through this critical operation.

Another favorite letter in the book was one written from Ruth’s granddaughter. It showed the granddaughter’s memories of how her grandmother stuck by her side through a childhood accident.

The book provides a guide as to signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, tips for how to survive as a caregiver, and resources both online and offline that can help family members provide care.

As painful of a subject as this book covers, I read it twice. Why? Not only is this book a cry for scientists to try to find a cure for the disease, it is also a shining example of what family can be.

Too often, society writes off people when they are ill. Friends no longer visit. Sometimes even family shuns the sick person.  As a result, many people are shuttled away to nursing homes where they may or may not get adequate care.

For me,  Memories are Precious speaks to the power of love and family to overcome any problem.

This book shows what lengths a family will go to help their loved one when they are sick. After all, what is family for?


Pitch Dark by Brooke London

Pitch Dark

Author: Brooke London

In this uniquely written and highly charged novel, author Brooke London introduces the reader to two strong characters, Alyssa and Connor. Alyssa Tiernan is trying to protect a new discovery created by her grandfather. This discovery is being highly sought after and extracts oil from the Canadian oil sands. She knows that someone is trying to steal this process because the security on her computer was hacked into or breached. Hacking into computers was her former career. She worked for the government until learning the harsh reality of her labors and what they really did with the information she uncovered.

Connor Donnelly is the co-owner of Energy Unlimited and approaches her grandfather about financing this new procedure. Having worked as a CIA spy for many years, he has now taken the role as a business mogul. Unprepared for meeting this outspoken, intelligent woman, sparks fly, body language speaks and as Alyssa enters his world and checks out his security systems, they soon discover that this meeting is more than just a business partnership.

As they dance around each other and skirt their feelings Alyssa reveals the truth about her past to Connor. Leaving the world of espionage they form a strong bond and union as they try to find out who is behind the attack on them and which terrorists after the process.

Trying to protect her grandfather’s new discovery that extracts oil from he Canadian oil sands, Alyssa Tiernan risks more than just her life. Knowing that someone else was interested in this process and will stop at nothing to get it, she allows herself to join forces with Connor Donnelly to make sure that the company her grandfather founded and the one he want to make a deal with is not trying to steal it from him. Hacking into the computer system is easy for Alyssa. Trusting Connor and his brother Liam is quite another thing. Connor as co-owner of Energy Unlimited wants to finance this new technology. Agreeing to work with Alyssa and having her come and check out his systems, Connor gets more than he bargained for in Alyssa. Outspoken, tenacious, persistent and a free thinker, she creates many frustrating situations for him.

As they delve into who might be after the technology and who wants them eliminated, people are killed, terrorists blow up two oil sites and the road to betrayal, lies an deceit grows longer as Alyssa comes face to face with her one fear: Who can she trust? Will she be able to set aside her past and what happened to her to help save her grandfather’s discovery?

Both Connor and Alyssa have to breakdown the barriers that they have built up over the years in order to find out who is behind the bombings, why and how to stop them. Coming face to face with her past, will she risk her life to protect those she loves, or will she turn a blind eye?

Outspoken, no holds barred Alyssa will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Brilliant at hacking into computer systems, able to defy any firewall, security package and more, she feverishly works to protect not only her grandfather’s technology, but those she loves too. Action packed, characters that you either love or hate, villains that are charismatic and a chemistry between Connor and Alyssa hotter than an burning inferno, Brooke London ‘s thriller is packed with deceit, lies and more setting the bar quite high for all romance and mystery writers.

How far will anyone go to get her Grand’s technology? Just where does he fit into all of this? Who is on the side of the law and who is pretending? When all is said and done Alyssa learns some hard truths about those she thought she could trust? Wait until you find out who caused the bombings and who was behind the rest? This is truly a five star book from a five star author.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

The Raven Affair: A five star RAVEN REVIEW

The Raven Affair

Author Steven Nedelton

World domination. What a horrific thought. Imagine what would happen if a president whose strings were pulled by those who oppose everything governed our country we stand for. Imagine if all war criminals went free and their crimes unpunished. Crimes against humanity such as murder, genocide, enslavement, torture, deportment and other inhumane acts committed against a race, group of people or population is unconscionable. The punishment should be swift and those guilty punished. Many war crimes go unpunished. War criminals are hidden and given asylum in other countries for many different reasons. The Raven Affair, by author Steven Nedelton brings to light what happens when those who have committed these atrocities escape punishment and remain at large.

WWII is over and Hitler and his regime have been brought down. Fascism no longer exists and the Third Reich is defunct. Or are they? Infamous war criminals are still at large and one in particular whose crimes are unspeakable that many will stop at nothing to bring him to justice. But will they? The war criminal, Anton has butchered many, burned the living in crematoriums, watched them mutilated and felt no remorse. Hate is a terrible word and Anton and his fellow comrades stopped at nothing to kill a people because he felt they were weak, unworthy of living, the wrong race, religion or nationality. Protected by the church, going under the guise of a one a monk, this man remained at large. Exterminating hundreds of people at the request of one sick and demented man: Hitler: Dubbed the Fuhrer. One man so power hungry that he brainwashed a people who carried out his wishes leading to the obliteration of millions.

One step ahead of everyone, killing, butchering priests, rabbis, and anyone in his wake, Anton is sought after by so many but no one has succeeded. Author Steven Nedelton vividly and graphically describes the dreams that plague this maniacal killer, allowing the reader to feel the pain and tortures inflicted on so many by this man and those ordered to assist him.

Infiltration is the key to their devious plan to resurrect what Hitler wanted to preserve and keep alive. A group of dangerous criminals, posing as businessman, meet secretly yet in the open, with one goal in mind to attain supremacy and establish themselves legally and ultimately attain World Supremacy and Domination. How scary is that?

In order to thwart their efforts and stop this heinous plot many must be eliminated at all costs. One man, whose identity is unknown even to those closest to him, will be hired and his services enlisted. Called The Raven, sought after by anyone who wants to hire the right assassin for murder, can he get their in time to take out the intended targets before the body count rises and it is too late?

A priest involved in drug trafficking in order to get money and help for the sick and the needy. Caught between his conscience and loyalty to the church, Father Joseph comes to grips with his fears and seals his fate with his decision. Is it right to break the law to help those in need? When is it okay to sin?

Raven is not the only one who is hired to eliminate those who go against what men like Felix Weber and his group of men in his Club want. A man called the Clerk, is hired to rid the world of those that stand in the way of their goals. Raven is hired to avenge the death of many in the camps by those who can afford his price. Justifying their reasons, everyone stands to gain from his efforts, but will the world benefit as a result or will more atrocities of a different nature occur before all is said and done?

. Benjamin Guerrero is a dangerous man and must be stopped. Someone wants him dead for personal reasons others because of his past. But, when the deed is done, no one questions the results. Linked to these people are many politicians, bankers, priests, clergy, the Holy See and more. Anyone that is beholden to these people must adhere to their demands or become victim to the consequences. A corrupt Vatican banker, the President of the United States who received their support to win his election; all owing allegiance to what they refer to as their Fatherland.  Follow their orders or pay. Who was behind the death of the President and the first lady? How involved is the KGB in what has happened?
With twists and turns you won’t see coming. Priests, clergy, politicians murdered, involved and threatened, author Steven Nedelton gives the reader pause for much thought. Is the U.S. being infiltrated by those that have strong ties to what Hitler believed in? Are they already here? What are we going to do to stop them? Why did the FBI tell Interpol to back off and not pursue some of the known assassins? Who is the Clerk? Who is Raven? Only the author knows for sure and this reviewer, and we are not about to tell. You have to read this outstanding novel filled with murder, lies, deceit and intrigue to find out. Who will be left standing at the end? You won’t believe the events that lead up to an ending so unexpected and unbelievable making this novel one of the most original and best picks for 2010.

Throughout Germany, France, Spain, England, North America and other places throughout the world this group has infiltrated. Their purpose is to control our government and make it their own. How frightening? Bombings, murders, assassins, the White and Black Guards each with their own private agenda. Author Steven Nedelton ties up some of the loose ends and leaves others untied allowing for a possible return of this illusive man and many others in a possible sequel.

Characters are well defined and vividly described. A plot line that will keep you edge until you turn the last page and hope for more. This well written, mind provoking mystery, thriller and action packed novel will take you on a dangerous roller coaster ride with many uphill and downhill slides leading to an unexpected ending.

World Domination or Democracy? Which will win out? Who will lose? Who won? You decide after reading this novel.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Author of the Bertha Series of books and Memories are Precious

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