Monday, November 28, 2011

Win Chill Run by Russell Brooks

Want to win one of ten ebook copies of Chill Run by Russell Brooks?  Simply leave a comment on his blog post.  The giveaway ends Wednesday November 30, and 10 winners will be drawn by Russell's cat Chilton on Thursday December 1.  Again don't enter here, enter on his blog post.

My review will be coming soon.

Chill Run by Russell Brooks
Release:  December 1, 2011

You know a publicity stunt has backfired when someone dies. 

Starving author Eddie Barrow, Jr., will do anything to get a book deal with a NYC publisher. Even if it means getting caught by the media while engaging in S&M with a female celebrity as a publicity stunt. What Eddie gets instead are details of a billion dollar fraud scheme from a suicidal client who's fatally shot minutes later. Now on the run from the law and the killers, Eddie seeks help from two unlikely friends—an alcoholic and a dominatrix. 

With few resources, Eddie races to clear his name, unveil the fraud scheme, and expose the killers before he becomes their next victim

Book Review: Hospice Tails by Debra Stang #HospiceTails

Hospice Tails by Debra Stang
Publisher:, Inc.
Publish Date: May 31, 2011
Paperback, 108 pages 
Non-Fiction, Anthology
 ISBN: 978-1614342618

My Review:
Hospice Tails is a quick read and much lighter than one might think given the subject matter.  I jumped at the chance to do this tour since I have a love of pets (especially cats) and a profound love and respect for Hospice after my Grandmother was cared for by Hospice after she broke her hip and never really recovered and then passed away almost 2 years ago.  So I wanted to read these stories as told by a Hospice worker of how pets were important at the end of life to the patients and families.

I enjoyed the stories, they were quick reads and I found none of them depressing at all.  Ms. Stang has a quick wit and a gift to tell the stories of how the animals were special (or not special, yet still important in one case) to each patient or family.  Each story is told completely and I got to know the pet and the patient and how Ms. Stang interacted with each patient.

Two things stood out to me in this book.  Pets were important in each case to the well-being of the patient and the family was the first one.  And second, Ms. Stang really cares about what she does and about each patient.  Not all the patients were eager for Hospice care, but through her thoroughness and drive to give them the best care possible I see that she gets to know them and does her best and this is what I see as the shining star of Hospice care.  It's the fact that they really do care.  I think Ms. Stang really brings this to light in this book whether she means to or not.  The pets provided the humor a lot of the time and Ms. Stang provided the heart.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Hospice Tails shares the stories of those without voices. This books tells the stories of fourteen pets and the role they played when their loved one was ill or dying. The stories range from sad to touching to downright hysterical. There was King, who had the hospice nurses very nervous. Until they realized he was a lap dog in a pit bull’s body. Jasper and Jackie, Amazon parrots who put on a daily concert for their owner, even on the last day of his life. As an Alzheimer’s patient’s world shrunk Washington, a golden retriever, became the only “person” he recognized. This book is ideal for animal lovers as well as those who are caretakers—either as a profession or for a loved one.

About the Author: 
In addition to her parents and two sisters, Debra’s family includes four cats. The current crew includes a grouchy nine-year-old named Achilles; an orange tabby and alpha male named, appropriately enough, Alexander, and a black and white long-haired cat with attitude named Leroux. Then there’s the foster cat named Pumpkin. Of course it all started with a three-month-old brown-and-gray tabby named Calypso who had strong feeling about most people. And not warm fuzzy feelings. Calypso even had the dubious honor of being banned by not one, but two vets.

When not caring for cats or writing, Debra spent many years as a social worker. She worked with AIDS patients, emergency room patients, and those with Alzheimer’s. Her final years as a social worker were spent with hospice patients. Although some would view that as a depressing job Debra chose to view herself as a catalyst helping people make their final hopes and dreams come true. Sometimes it was making up with a family member after a decades long feud or leaving behind the stress of the office to reconnect with another aspect of their personality.

Debra took a clue from her patients and recently decided her writing – for years a part-time career – couldn’t wait any longer. Worried she would become one of those people who would one day say, “I wish I had…” she handed in her resignation and is now living her dream as a full time writer.


FTC Information: I received through WOW (Women on Writing) tours for an honest review. 

If you purchase Hospice Tails from one of the links below, My Reading Room will make a small percentage of the sale which I will use to fund future giveaways and postage for mailing giveaways.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Guest Blog: Taking Care of Yourself First by Debra Stang (author of #HospiceTails)

Taking Care of Yourself First by Debra Stang

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve heard the spiel about the oxygen masks: always put your own mask on before assisting your child.

That flies right in the face of instinct, doesn’t it? Most of us are hard-wired to want to help the child first.

But the simple, cold truth is that if you pass out due to lack of oxygen, there’s no one left to help the child. What seems like a selfless act, helping the child first, could actually endanger both your lives.

A cabin-pressure change in an airplane is a single, catastrophic event. Caring for an elderly loved one is more like a marathon, but the analogy still fits. If you always put your loved one’s needs first and your needs second, you will become depleted, burned out, and perhaps even physically ill. Who will care for your loved one then?

When you’re a caregiver, it’s important to take some time each day to attend to your own wants and needs. For instance, you might walk on a treadmill before your loved one wakes up in the morning, read a few chapters of a good book while your loved one is involved in something else, or take a hot, relaxing bath or shower after your loved one goes to bed.

Finding a few minutes here and there is usually not so difficult. The real challenge is finding a block of time, at least two or three hours each week, when you don’t have to worry about being a caregiver. You can use this time for anything you find refreshing—taking a nap, having lunch with a friend, getting a massage, window-shopping downtown, or writing in a journal.

If you don’t think you could possibly get away from your caregiving duties for that long, I have some ideas that may help.

  • Involve other family members. If they can’t or won’t help you with caregiving duties, perhaps they could chip in some money to help hire respite care. 
  • Look into day programs at the local senior center, or look into adult daycare. Even if your loved one only attends once a week, this is a free day for you. 
  • Arrange a trade with another caregiver. Perhaps you could cut your neighbor’s hair for free or watch her son for a couple of hours after school if your neighbor agrees to stay with your loved one for a couple for a little while each morning.
  • Reach out to your religious community. Many churches, synagogues, and mosques have programs to help caregivers. 
  • Call your local Area Agency on Aging and ask if they know of any respite programs.
  • Hire private-duty care through a reputable agency. While this option may seem expensive, it is actually cost-effective if it keeps you mentally and physically healthy enough to provide care.

Caring for an elderly loved one is no easy task, but scheduling regular hours when you focus on nurturing yourself and help you reduce your stress level and avoid burnout. Remember the airplane analogy. Always put your own oxygen mask on first.

Thanks Debra for that great advice and for all you do working with Hospice.  

And stay tuned, later today my review of Hospice Tails will be posting.

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

I had a great mailbox week - here's what I received so be on the lookout for reviews in the next few months for these great books! Thanks to the great authors, publishers and publicists who sent me these books.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?