A very real book review




Good Reads
 it is …. I used to go to Amazon to look up a book that I had read, really enjoyed, and see what recommendations they suggested be explored: a new Author or a new genres.


Seriously, I would never have found my favorite author Michael Connelly if I hadn’t gone through this process.  Although I did this review for John Grisham which is self-explanatory as you read it as to the why.  


Without John Grisham I would never have picked up a David Baldacci (which I think I still have a book to the right on my sidebar as a book I recommended).


You’d almost think that I’m a legalese thriller genre fanatic.  Unless you’ve read Connelly or Lee Child for that matter.  In any of the genres you are rooting for someone, cheering someone on against very large obstacles.  They’re not always the little, downtrodden either.  


Victims of Unfairness
Maybe that is the common denominator that all the authors I enjoy share:  writing stories about overcoming failure, sadness, corruption, bad bosses, bad companies ::….. basically, so many of us deal with that every day, it is nice to read about someone else’s problems for a change?


I don’t think that is the reason.  However pact and simple an explanation it sounds.    It could be turned around as a perception that if you enjoy that sort of thing, you like to help people, you want to be optimistic?  How about trying that on for size?    


Similarly, I did go through a long phase of reading Steven Koontz paranormal physic benders.  Now I cringe when I pass one of his books or a suggestion or review that comes across my vision with his name on it.  Similarly to the memory still fresh of an 8-year-old Kelsey (now 22) cringing and gasping out loud: “no corn” after picking her up from the airport to return home from 2 weeks with Grandad and Grandma and corn on the cob every day.  


But there was a real reason I wrote the review.  I was trying to escape from all the BAD NEWS I’ve been hearing lately.  How many more people have lost their jobs at an alarming rate in the city and province where I live.  Rarely do my online and real world collide at such ferocious impact!  


If you’ve read more than one blog, and are not my mother (who may stop reading it AND talking to me after she sees her darling granddaughter’s reaction to her visit 14 years ago that I wrote and shared with the world, who could clearly pick her out from a Grandmothers lineup for 1000s of miles around!) … I have written before about causes I care about besides fashion, beauty, career, social media and writing .. on the milder side … to more serious meanderings about things that I care about.


I don’t believe that people want to read about anyone ranting about anything on social media.  If they are just waiting to pounce on a cause or a trending hashtag to join in with being HIP, that is their business.  That is the disappointing side of social media.


You cannot know, understand or have an opinion about anything based on 140 characters or less people!  OK, oops, that was a bit like a burp, sounding almost like a rant.  It is a very difficult exercise and mindset to stay the course on motivating, uplifting and inspiring stories when there are so many injections of rants.  I am trying VERY very hard NOT to be one of those people.  



Having a gratitude attitude is not as hard as it sounds.  Some days you have to dig deeper to find a seed of optimism.  However, if you hang on and scour everywhere to find something to be thankful about, you can surely find it.


So in a way to escape from what I live in every day, where I live, where the majority of my city earns an income directly or indirectly because of the oil industry, one cannot turn a blind eye or tune everything out when it crosses over into your chillax time.  





Our Canadian Prime Minister announced the approval of a couple of less controversial pipelines this past week.  It was about where I live, about people I care about:  my neighbors and community.  


The largest, resounding quote or sound bite came from a politician in Vancouver (who I cannot remember the name and don’t want to sidetrack writing to go sleuthing to fact check, so I will omit intentionally).  What was said was to the effect that after a lot of careful assessment, scientific input, community say, the pipelines have been carefully evaluated based on the risk, that the environment is very important, but so is putting people to work so that they can put food on their tables, not lose their homes, be able to afford to send their kids to school.  That had an amazing profound impact.  It was so true!


Taking care of our citizens is now.  Taking care of our world is now.  However, with all the protests, fear mongering, and I’m going to say “politic’ing” by Obama, there bodes a question:  what is more important?  Taking care of the future of our world and our indigenous people OR giving our communities back by helping people work who want to work to put food on their table, pay for the roof over their family’s heads?  People working for a living can afford to buy Christmas gifts to loved ones.  People who are unemployed or underemployed (working as a security guard when they are educated and experienced as an engineer) deserve to live their lives today.  


So this is more of a squeak.  A sounding board on what others may not be thinking or saying:  what about those people who live in fear of terrorism or losing their jobs, their homes?  Without people working, they cannot buy an appliance from the guy in Canada (I will pull and comment about that at another time) who sponsors and brings 50 Syrian families (not singular, as in persons, but families as in multiples) into Canada through his own philanthropist efforts, out of pocket expense.  It was a moving and inspirational story on CBC this past week.


The guy figured out that he was lucky and helping others was a way of saying thanks and giving back.  


Why don’t the rest of us just calm down, relax and sit back and think about it.  I was talking to a client this week who brought up the destruction on the BC coast from the oil spill from the EXXon disaster.  What people are NOT protesting is the fact that it was human error, not the boat, not the ship, and not a pipeline that caused the devastation.


Did you read about the rail car that went off the rails in Quebec carrying oil that exploded, devastated a community and killed too many.  One was too many.  





It makes me think more and more because I do read.  I do try to look from all the points of view.  I think of questions and I look for answers … until I reach a stalemate where you are damned if you take the stance against the loudest voices.   Those voices only job may be that, lending voice to protest.  They were pretty quiet on behalf of Quebec.  


Then again.  I haven’t heard the real reason for why the rail tanker exploded causing so much devastation.  Something tells me that it will be something similar to the person being hungover or drunk.  A grave human error.  That allows the company to have a person to point the finger at.  That allows protesters to protest about.


I’m not going to say it or will I?  How many of the people feel who lose their jobs out of fear mongering and from people joining a cause that is not done in deep rooted knowledge or belief but because they like to fight for a cause.  

Yes, the protesters may sleep peacefully tonight at long last.  They won.  That is like it always is.  A contest between winning and losing.  





Unfortunately, the victims in this win are the ones who have been losing all along:  losing their jobs, losing money to buy food, losing the ability to keep their homes, losing income to celebrate the Holidays, unable to afford to contribute this year for great causes like homelessness, joblessness.  Finding themselves among those they helped such a short time ago.


Here is my real book review today on Good Reads: 







I read this book when it first came out, as a devotee of John Grisham’s.  His writing resonated with me  by his realistic approach to story telling:  “believeability” in the way that the characters transcend from a character to a person, for that to happen is only possible when the reader is vested in the outcome.  


I apologize for not writing a review for John Grisham until now.  He certainly has earned it and deserves it even more.


Why?  If you have read thus far and care to ask?  I am a fan of John’s stories because more often than not, I can relate to them.  They make me wonder who I know that this could happen to?  Would I feel the same if I read it in the news or a friend or associate told this to me as a story, as in realistic, true story.


But I am writing this today is because, true to tradition, I have John Grisham’s latest novel:  “The Whistler” on my bedside table, anxiously waiting for me, who is binge reading my latest book that I had started to read before buying the Hard Cover over a week ago.  


Even more compelling is the reason for this review.  Weeding among the noise on Twitter, sorting through the loyal followers from the mutual admiration society, I noticed the Trending Tweet about the kibosh of the Dakota Pipeline Access from protests.  That is why I read:  to escape those crazy tweets that may be shared because it seems like the hip thing to do;  to try to censor and stifle my own reaction and thoughts.


My fingers were twitching …. so I reached deep inside to find something positive to say; which sometimes is difficult to do.  I wanted to rant back and call some “ninkomphoffs” (whatever the right spelling is) as in a tactful way of trying to say, if you have an opinion, at least be informed.


To the haven of John Grisham and Good Reads to see if I’m missing any glorious reads, like “Girl in the Train” not being discovered with out the nice coaxing by Good Reads.  Happy to note that I was on the “train” before the curve catapulted from must read into a must see movie.  That’s what sets me apart, perhaps.  I like to find a really undetected, undiscovered gem of an author or book and read it.  Where I am at fault, is not sharing an opinion about it.  I will try to change that.  In fact about 4 months ago I did create a blog, never actually writing yet, even so far as a Twitter handle because I don’t want to have a blog name that is not affiliated with a Twitter handle:  big author social media tip::  when you create a title for a book, ensure that you can secure a Twitter HANDLE and create a name first.  Then it will be so much easier to create an online presence.  


So, to cut to the chase, before I dash out to finish this blog on http://ift.tt/2foMtQv as it may be helpful to write to help authors on their social media marketing efforts, then repost it on my The Publisher blog ….. before kickstarting my reading review Blog :: @readingaficionado 


Reading this book called Gray Mountain opened my eyes to the plight of a community impacted by chopping off the tops of mountains to access highly profitable fossil fuels that pad the wallets of greedy corporations (that are run by executives, not real people).  Without reading this book, I would not have the depth to grasp the other side of the story:  when greed surpasses humanity.


That, in a nutshell, is what this book does.  It makes you realize that harm is caused to innocent children who are born in unfortunate surroundings.  No different if you are in the middle of wartorn Syria, or in the vicinity of progress like we saw in Rio to allow Brazil to host the past Summer Olympics, or to those in direct community of where a pipeline chugs along or where one is trying to be made.  


It sure sounds like a fantastic plot that neither Grisham or Baldacci can conjure without a piece of real life, real situations and characters imagined.




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