Tag Archives: Texas

Review: The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish

THE BIG INCH
by
KIMBERLY FISH
  Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
Date of Publication: January 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 344

 

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Kimberly Fish’s debut novel, The Big Inch, was released in February, 2017 and it reveals the lengths to which Texas oilmen, state, and federal governments would go to get Texas crude oil to the troops fighting their first mechanized war. With Nazi threats (and a steady stream of oil tankers sunk by German submarines) speed was necessary, as was OSS intelligence. The Office of Strategic Services was often staffed with female spies and Longview’s World War II efforts were critical for success. 
Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas in July 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for the fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt’s initiative to build the nation’s first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there’s more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There’s intrigue, mayhem, and danger. Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her mission and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she’s knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed, plans, realizing that sometimes the life one has to save, is one’s own.

 

 ***

 

 

PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH:
“With an eye for detail, Kimberly Fish weaves a compelling story of a war widow who finds herself in Longview, Texas in 1942. Reading Kimberly’s novel was a bit like going back to a cloak and dagger time, and I enjoyed the local references. Longview was an amazing place to be during WWII.”   — Van Craddock, Longview News Journal, Columnist
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.” — Vickie Phelps  Author of Moved, Left No Address

 

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From the get-go, Fish reels you in with vivid descriptions. I can feel Lane’s trepidation on this journey, although I haven’t gotten to know her enough yet. I am at the train station, too, overwhelmed by the chaos of activity and people. And as intrigued as I am by Lane’s snippets of life in Paris, I am even more in awe of her situational awareness. I instantly  become a fan when she outwits a pickpocket and, cool as a cucumber, is swept away by train to her new life.
I apologize if my gushing makes the novel sound melodramatic. Believe me, it is far from that. The people are very real and the situation even more so. The subject of oil is a touchy one, especially when there’s a war going on. No hunch is too small to investigate. And no person is insignificant it seems.
As an attractive, single (widowed) woman, Lane has to navigate small town life carefully. And that’s easier said than done when her boss is a handsome lady’s man. When she isn’t busy batting away blind date offers, Lane has to fend off a few tempting suitors as well. While some women would fall prey to men like that, Lane is truly a completely different breed of woman. Her dedication to her job and sense of honor allows her to brush off society’s misconceptions and the annoyances that result from them.
Lane has to tail her boss constantly to ensure his safety, earning her the nickname “Elmer”. As in the glue. Get it? Haha! Even the people working closely with her couldn’t help making assumptions. I was amazed that her honor wasn’t completely drowned in the gossip pool. Several times, her good deeds got her into a bit of trouble. Submerging her further into that pool. But Lane is an exceptional swimmer.
I might have made her out to be perfect, but Lane does manage to underestimate a handful of characters. Which leads to surprisingly good and unfortunately bad ends. I can’t get into all that without ruining the story. But let me just praise Fish a bit more on her ability to fashion such a compelling and believable protagonist. I really enjoyed learning a little bit about Lane each time she slipped up and let another character get to see who she really is.
And Ms. Fish, if you’re reading this, I would really like a novel about Sergeant Tesco.
Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won a Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats, She lives with her family in East Texas.
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March 822, 2017
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3/8
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3/9
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3/10
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3/11
Review
3/12
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3/14
Review
3/15
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3/16
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3/17
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3/18
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3/22
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Author Interview: A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Georgina Puig

A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by

Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

 

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values. 
Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire
A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29
“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com
“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot
A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly
“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea
A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

AuthorInterview

Author Interview 1 – Yvonne Georgina Puig

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

I think growing up in Texas made me a writer. For better or worse, Texas really is outrageous, and I love that about it. You grow up hearing stories, and meeting larger-than-life people from all currents of life—I believe growing up in Texas attuned me to story. Also, my dad, who grew up in Houston, is a great storyteller.

Where did your love of all things bookish come from?

It seems to me it came from many places—from where I grew up certainly, but also from my parents and grandparents, who all love/loved to read. Books and stories were an escape for me. I didn’t much feel like I fit in at school, and so I learned to be an observer. And writing comes out of observation. I also feel I was born loving words – I can’t explain it, but even before I learned how to write, I was filling journals with pretend writing (I remember making little make-believe cursive lines from right to left in a spiral notebook).

How long have you been writing?

As long as I can remember—filling those spiral notebooks with pretend writing before I knew how to write. I didn’t think of it as writing back then. I don’t remember what I thought. I just loved to put pen to paper.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Poetry, essays, fiction, and more recently trying to see how I do with screenplays. We’ll see how it goes!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I’m curious to hear this question answered from a reader’s perspective. It seems to me writers are too close to their own writing to be able to see it clearly – I just hope that to readers my writing is somehow true or familiar to an experience of their own hearts.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

It was hardest to make the love story feel true and real, and not too sappy. I hope I succeeded. It was also challenging to take the themes of The House of Mirth and apply them to modern-day Texas. I believe the questions that Wharton poses in The House of Mirth are still relevant today. But on the other hand, things really have changed for women since her time. It was difficult but wonderful to write over that tightrope and let both those things be true at once.

What did you find most useful and/or most destructive in learning to write?

Aiming for perfection is destructive. Comparison is destructive. I think comparison is hardest- when you read something so incredible you just think to yourself, I’ll never be able to do that. And maybe you won’t –but you will be able to something else! And it will be your own.

What is your intention in reimagining The House of Mirth?

I’d like to answer this question because I’ve noticed that people wonder if I thought I could somehow do the The House of Mirth better than or even equal to Wharton. That is not the case. No one can match Wharton. I wanted to write a story that jumped off the premise of House of Mirth and asked similar questions about women, and the extent to which women are free today. What does it mean to be a wife today?

 

 

 


Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband. 

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9/15
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9/16
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9/17
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9/18
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9/19
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9/20
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9/21
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9/22
Author Interview 2
9/23
Review

 

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Special Feature: Texas in Her Own Words as told to Tweed Scott

TEXAS IN HER OWN WORDS
(Second Edition)

 

by

 

Tweed Scott
Genre: Texas / Texana / General Interest
Publisher: Tejas Publishing
Date of Publication: June 16, 2016
Number of Pages: 336
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Texas in Her Own Words is a peek into the Texas psyche. It explains why Texans are the way they are . . . where all that attitude comes from. This work is the result of a statewide search for what author Tweed Scott calls the “T-Chromosome.” Texans are different but why?  Scott went statewide to find the answers to three basic questions. 1) What makes Texas special? 2) Why is this place so different than anywhere else on the planet? 3) If and when it applied, what does it mean to you personally to BE a native Texan?

 

Scott shares some remarkable answers with you throughout the book. In the end, he learned that all Texans share four traits or attributes. When you finish this book, you will understand why Texans are the way they are. IF you are a native Texan, chances are you will find some of yourself between the covers of this book. It’s a fun read.

Praise for Texas in Her Own Words

“Searching for the soul of Texas, Tweed Scott has done a great service.  People and places and the cowboy poetry of the heart — Texas in Her Own Words is chockfull of all of these things.  It deserves a special place on your bookshelf. Say right between Larry McMurtry and J. Frank Dobie.” Kinky Friedman, author and entertainer
 
“It’s a Texas thing, you either have it, or you don’t.  Few people can define such an emotion, a feeling, a pride that is embedded so deep.  This book made me cry and smile at the same time.  Texas in Her Own Words helps to explain what ‘Lone Star state of mind’ is. . .” — TJ Greaney, Publisher, Countryline Magazine.
 
“I [Patricia Spork] very highly recommend Texas in Her Own Words (Second Edition) by Tweed Scott to Texas researchers and historians, to any hopeful “wannabe” Texan or to any yee hawin’ boastful Texan, like me (a transplanted didn’t-know-it “wannabe”).” 
Patricia Spork, freelance writer and artist
 
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Tweed Scott is a laugh-out-loud funny motivational speaker and corporate entertainer. He retired from broadcasting after 31 years. His broadcasting accomplishments include operating the highest rated FM station in America and later the 5th highest rated AM station in America. Tweed is an award winning speaker and the author of the three-time national award-winning book, Texas in Her Own Words. His book is sold at the Alamo, the state capitol gifts shops in Austin, the San Jacinto Museum & Battleground, and the Sam Houston Statue & Visitor’s Center in Huntsville.

 

 

He is the past president of the board for the Writers’ League of Texas serving some 1,300 members. Tweed now writes for several magazines and has built his own writing and speaking company, Tejas Publishing, LLC.  He is a graduate of Lamar University and a US Navy veteran. He continues to write and spread what he calls, “The Gospel of Texas.”

 

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Promo and Giveaway: Death Under a Full Moon by Dianne Smithwick-Braden

DEATH UNDER A FULL MOON

 

(Wilbarger County Series #2)


by 


Dianne Smithwick-Braden
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: February 4, 2016
# of pages: 268
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This second installment of the Wilbarger County Series joins Sheriff Wade Adams and Lizzie Fletcher as they investigate murder. Wade and Lizzie attend a dinner party near the small community of Rayland, Texas. One week later, one the guests is murdered.  With his only female deputy out on maternity leave, Sheriff Adams makes a quick decision to deputize Lizzie. That decision proves to be good for the department but damaging to their relationship. The Sheriff and his deputies follow every possible lead to no avail.  Lizzie happens to overhear a conversation that gives them the break they need. With little time to spare, Sheriff Adams and his team rush to prevent yet another death.
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Dianne Smithwick-Braden is a native Texas raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990.  Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death under a Full Moon is her second novel and the second installment of the Wilbarger County Series.

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  May 23 – June 1, 2016
Check out the other great blogs on the tour!  

5/23       Byers Editing Reviews & BlogAuthor Interview #1

5/24       My Book Fix Blog – Review
5/25       Missus Gonzo  – Promo
5/26       Margie’s Must Reads Excerpt
5/27       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review
5/28       Books and BroomsticksAuthor Interview #2
5/29       StoreyBook Reviews  – Guest Post
5/30       Hall Ways Blog– – Review            
5/31       Texas Book LoverAuthor Interview #3 
6/1         Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their BooksReview
 
 
 
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Review: Lost Path to Solitude by Maria Elena Sandovici

LOST PATH TO SOLITUDE

 

(A Follow-Up to Dogs With Bagels)


by 


Maria Elena Sandovici
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: February 12, 2016
# of pages: 315
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Once you leave home, can you ever return? Two characters, mother and daughter, contemplate this question in Lost Path to Solitude. Twenty-five years after leaving Romania in order to follow the man she loves to New York, Maria Pop still struggles with accepting her decision. She is determined to go back and recapture the poetry and joy of life in Bucharest, even at the expense of risking her marriage. Meanwhile, her daughter, Liliana, second-guesses her own choice of moving to a small town in Southeast Texas, ironically called Solitude, where she finds herself lonely, bored, and nostalgic for the fast pace of life in New York City. Facing the claustrophobic social climate of a town that goes to bed early, as well as the constrictions of her emerging academic career, Liliana longs for something that would give her existence meaning. The parallel soul-searching and the frustration they experience does little to bring mother and daughter closer. Instead, as each struggles with finding her own place in the world, they become increasingly critical of each other. Will their relationship survive the growing pains they each must suffer in their quest for self-fulfillment?

Review
If I don’t judge a book by its cover, I have a tendency to judge it by its synopsis. At first glance, I decided rather quickly that this book would be interesting but not something that I could relate to. I was very wrong.
I’m the same age as Liliana but our lives have followed very different paths. She’s single due to a broken engagement 10 years prior and on track for tenure at the university she works for. I’m married with a kid and working from home. But we both struggle with the question of whether that is all there is to us. And throw in the drama with our mothers, and I think that Liliana and I could hang out all day after a yoga class.
On the surface, it might seem I could relate more to Liliana’s mother, Maria. She studied to be a librarian and a string of events prevented her from working in the field. I actually quit working as a librarian to raise my son. Ok, well, maybe we don’t have as much in common as I thought. But we do have that existential crisis thing going for us like Liliana. Also, when she makes the decision to stop speaking to Liliana, I can definitely relate. If only my family were like hers, letting the two quarrelers be and not getting in the middle.
I don’t know a lot about Romania and its people, but it was interesting how much the culture and people seem to parallel people in the Philippines (my parents’ homeland). I thought it was hilarious that the family from America was expected to bring back gifts that could probably be purchased in Romania. Or that you had to stay with family when you visited rather than stay at a hotel even though it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Don’t even get me started on the sexism, religious fanaticism, and general hypocrisy. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s not pleasant. But when you read about it or think about it in retrospect, it’s pretty entertaining. It’s nice to know that this translates across so many cultures. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out.
In a funny coincidence, just the other day my brother-in-law, who is a flight attendant, was explaining to me the difference between Texans and New Yorkers. Both BIL and book pointed out that New Yorkers are very straight forward and don’t sugarcoat things and waste your time like Texans often do. How New Yorkers can be misconstrued as rude because of this, whereas Texans seem sweet even when they insult you with a “Bless your heart.” This might not be earth shattering news, but I felt like it deserved a mention since I felt like New York and Texas were sort of characters as well. Romania, too, of course. But like I’ve said previously, I know nothing of Romania.
Sandovici writes a great tale. My only nitpick on this book is that I wished she put the name of the character at the beginning of each section when she switched perspectives. I sometimes had to read a whole page before figuring out who it was about, and then circling back to the start of the section so that I fully understood what was happening.
I applaud her writing style because of the subtle things. Like Maria’s broken English when she’s speaking to her kids, non-Romanian friends, and strangers. But then her vast vocabulary and colorful dialogue when speaking to her husband and those who do speak Romanian. It’s these little things that speak volumes about an author’s abilities.
Maria Elena Sandovici moved to Texas on a Greyhound bus in the summer of 2005. It would be the beginning of a great adventure. Born in Bucharest, Romania, a place she loves and where she returns often, she’d spend the requisite time in Manhattan to call herself a New Yorker, but also to know she was looking for something else. Her debut novel, Dogs with Bagels, is very much a New York story: the story of an immigrant family forging new identities for themselves in the city that never sleeps. 

Her second novel, Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, is the story of a young woman traveling the world in search of herself. This theme persists in Lost Path to Solitude, her third novel, in which characters suffering an identity crisis are caught in a search for the ideal place to call home. Three locales dominate the story: New York City, Bucharest, and an imaginary, caricaturized town in Southeast Texas, called Solitude.In addition to writing fiction, Maria Elena Sandovici paints every day. She has a studio at Hardy and Nance Studios in Houston, and also shows her daily watercolors on her blog, Have Watercolors Will Travel, accompanied by essays about whatever inspires or obsesses her at any given moment.

To support her art and writing, she teaches Political Science at Lamar University. She is also the well-behaved human of a feisty little dog. 

Her favorite places in Texas are Houston and Galveston. 

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  May 23 – June 1, 2016
Check out the other great blogs on the tour!  

5/23   Missus Gonzo  –  Review
5/24   It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #1
5/25   Country Girl Bookaholic  – Promo
5/26   Forgotten Winds  — Review
5/27   Texas Book Lover  – Guest Post #1
5/28   My Book Fix Blog – Excerpt
5/29   Hall Ways BlogReview
5/30   The Page Unbound – Author Interview #2
5/31   StoreyBook Reviews      – Review
6/1     A Novel Reality– Guest Post #2
 
 
 
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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
presents
RACING FORWARD
by

Mica Mosbacher

 
Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella. Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.
 
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Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)

Review

I’m embarrassed to say that I went into this one not having a clue who either Mica Mosbacher or her husband were. Maybe if I watched the Simpsons (gotta read the book to know what I mean by that) growing up… I approach memoirs by people I don’t know with caution, but my visor came up within the first page. Mosbacher is a great writer and you can really tell she has a background in journalism (she puts in relevant pop culture tidbits here and there to keep you interested). I was impressed with her personal and professional drive, as well as her ability to keep me from thinking of her as a gold digger. I don’t know what the high society pages in Houston said about her, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always nice. Either way, you know she made it out alive and continues to thrive. I was thrown by the cover of this book because the racing bit takes up very little space. (I actually thought she was some famous race car driver that I never heard of. Hmm…) And to be honest, that little bit was what underwhelmed me the most. Older woman having a mid- to late-life crisis buys a Ferrari (she’s kinda loaded because of her late husband) and gets into racing made me pause (although the cause it supports is AWESOME). But I thought her greatest achievements were as a supportive wife to a terminally ill husband, a caring mother, and a political fundraiser.

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.


She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of


Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet

Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.

 

 

 

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Review: The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

DoorToTheHeart

I had to read this with my mind set 6 months ago, when gay marriage was not yet legal in Texas. But I had to remind myself that the views of some people now are still what they were back then. I grew up in a home where gay jokes (and racist ones, too) weren’t a big deal. I think it might be a culture thing; Filipino films and media are notorious for casting a token gay man and making fun of dark skinned people. I don’t think my family has changed even though the world has. And while many of my beliefs are directly opposite of what I was brought up with, it didn’t stop me from marrying someone who disagrees with me on the issue of gay marriage. We didn’t talk about it before we were married, but knowing he was a devout Christian with traditional values, I had an inkling.

Farrar’s characters resonated with me because of this. The circumstances were different, Tammy wasn’t particularly a supporter of gay rights and Ed goes as far as trying to bully her into submission, but I could relate all the same. I know what it is to question the practices of traditional Christians who act cruelly or think callously about the oppressed in the name of Jesus. The dialogue in this book is very real to me and I will probably research more about the idea that “homosexual” is used in the Bible but it was a word that did not exist at the time of writing. Some may cry, “Semantics!” but my curiosity has been awakened.

I love that this book brings up PFLAG (formerly known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and gives a behind the scenes look of how they help the community. The chat sessions with 15 year old Seth are particularly heart wrenching.

My only criticism is that I think the author overreaches on how many scenarios Ed faces at one time: his son bullies a gay boy in school, he’s fighting against gay rights in his political position, his trustworthy assistant comes out that she’s in a gay marriage, someone close to him passes away and the organs go to a gay recipient, his other close friend recently finds out his son is gay… It was a little overkill for plot’s sake. It made it a little less believable. But otherwise, a wonderful and eye opening read.

Check out my previous post for the excerpt and author information.

 

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