Thursday, July 17, 2014

Susan Cohen and Gracie's Hope

I am posting this to get the word out about a fundraiser my friend is doing.
The organization is called, Gracie's Hope.  I have posted about Susan's daughter previously. But to refresh your memory, I will give you the short tail of it.

Abbey a few years ago, gave birth to triplets in LA but then a complication happened. Abbey, became paralyzed. Her parents, Paul and Susan, brought Abbie back from California to Myrtle Beach, SC and took  over her care.

Since then Susan has been an advocate for her daughter's care. She is doing a fundraiser next month to bring Gracie's Hope to Myrtle Beach.  The treatment not  only will help Abbie but others like Abbie.

 The care center will help veterans that have suffered from weapon injuries, it will help people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other brain injuries.

The reason Susan is fundraising to bring the care center to Myrtle Beach, it is a far drive to Huntersville, NC. It is costly to the families, not many private insurance companies will allow for the treatments. There are many treatments before it can take affect. Gracie's Hope offers grants to families  that can't afford it. It will help many people that have brain injuries and genetic brain disorders.

The treatment is called, Hyperbaric Oxygen  Therapy.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is simply an intermittent, short-term, high dose oxygen inhalation therapy. HBOT is an AMA recognized medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as part of an overall medical care plan. The oxygen level in the patient’s blood-stream is raised many times above normal, which helps control infections and promote healing in many kinds of illness or injury.

What conditions are being treated?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has helped thousands of people with conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and other brain disorders. By delivering high levels of oxygen under pressure, hypoxic tissue can be restored allowing healing to take place. Since hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not an FDA approved treatment for neurological conditions, most insurance companies do not cover HBOT treatment costs. As a result there are very few centers and physicians that provide this therapy.

G-d willing Gracie's Hope will be coming to Myrtle Beach in September. 

Susan, and Gracie's Hope are having a fundraiser next month. If you are unable to attend you can give a donation. The address is listed on the flyer below:

Changing the World...One Breath at a Time

The local inaugural fundraising dinner for Gracie's Hope, a 501(c)(3) organization operating Healing Centers that provide hyperbaric treatments, other therapies, counseling and additional services to special needs children and adults, including our veterans will be held on

August 12
The Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach
Please join us for dinner, followed by a short preview screening of the award-winning documentary, "Halfway Home."  This film features our guest speaker, SSG Tommy Rieman.  This documentary shows first hand that the toll of war extends far beyond the battlefield.  Additionally, Gracie's Hope Director, Eric Sutton, will share the story of Gracie's Hope and the extraordinary success of hyperbarics with our special children and our nation's heroes.

Tickets are now available by contacting Susan Cohen, local fundraising chair, at or calling 843-361-1006

You may make your reservations at one of the following levels:

$250.00 includes a private reception at 5pm, followed by dinner, video presentation and dessert buffet
($190.00 is tax deductible)
$100.00 includes dinner at 6pm, video presentation and dessert buffet
($40.00 is tax deductible)
$20.00 includes video presentation and dessert buffet at 7:15pm,
($5.00 is tax deductible)

Tables of eight (8) reservations are available for $2000

The evening also includes a Chinese Raffle
with lovely prizes donated by local businesses and individuals

Your support in helping to bring Gracie's Hope to North Myrtle Beach
will enable many families to find comfort, hope and an improved quality of life for their loved ones.
 For more information and our mission statement, please go to

Please contact Mrs. Cohen as noted above
  Michael D. Peters, M.D.
                                                                                             Gulf War Veteran
                                                                       Gracie’s Hope National Medical Director
Gracie’s Hope North Myrtle Beach Medical Director

Please pass the word on to anybody interested in helping support our cause or any individuals who may benefit from treatments.     

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Art Theft of the Century: The Art Forger

The Art Forger
By B. A. Shapiro

The Art forger is worth a read if you are a art enthusiast,  love a mystery, and love books that send subtle messages without your realizing it.  Looking underneath the layers, does it tell us anything?

This is the second novel that I read about art, one after the other. Each one is different then the next. Love and Treasures was about lost art post war Hungary.  The Art Forger is about a famous art heist that took place during the 1990's in Boston at the Isabella Gardner Museum.

The Art Forger takes place in present day Boston. Claire Roth is an artist.  But because of a scandal years ago she only can resort to copying art for a .com art company.  The book goes back and forth in time between her present life, and the scandal that caused her reputation as an artist to plummet.

Claire was approached by a famous art dealer, Aiden Markel to paint, and copy the painting of Degas's masterpiece" After the Bath"( Degas never made a painting called, After the Bath, but has made pieces)

Aiden brought her a copy of, "After the Bath". Kate begins drawing, and copying the art work. But each time she starts working on the piece she becomes more suspicious than the last time she saw it.  She begins to think, this is not a copy like Aiden Markel said, but it is the original.  "But how did he acquire it?"

Then someone by the name of, Patel is arrested for the art forgery of, After the Bath. Did her really do it. Which picture does Claire have? is it a forgery? or is it the real masterpiece of Degas?

We learn about the techniques a forger uses to make a forgery look, and appear like the real thing.  I did not realize there was a technique to use to make a painting appear older than it looks, or even how to make the colors and textures close to the real thing to make it appear to be the original. Personally, I didn't think about it.

 I thought the person just paints the picture. I didn't think there was a process.  But, there are many people out there, or are dead now that fooled many people.  Even to this day, there is speculation of the Mona Lisa, is it real, or is it a forgery that is hanging at the Louvre, in Paris. There is also a famous forger that copied Vameer.

 Between all this we learn about Isabella Gardner, a prominent patron of the arts.  How she acquired Degas's masterpieces.  Were they truly friends? Or just an imaginary thought by the author?   The author, B. A. Shapiro plays with her imagination by drawing on her imagination of a imaginary friendship of Degas and Isabella Gardner.  In the novel, Degas and Gardner became friends while she was acquiring his art work. He made a scandalous picture of her called, After the Bath.

Of course, through all this there has to be a underlying story about the famous art heist( if you visit the link you will see all the art pieces from the heist).  in 1990 at the Gardner Museum.  I was amazed, and surprised what the museum looked like. From the outside, it doesn't look like anything but a ordinary building.

 But, inside it is gorgeous. With the beautiful courtyard, and beautiful antiques.  The art heist may have happened because it was not well guarded. No one would ever think this building would house such famous masterpieces compared to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC  Unless you visited often and knew what you were looking for.   The stolen art pieces that were displayed are honored to this day with empty frames waiting for their return.  Recently as last year, the FBI now knows who has taken the art work. But, their names are not revealed to protect the investigation.

There were 13 masterpieces that were stolen, Yes, I said thirteen. Can you imagine. 
They are so gorgeous.

This one is called" The Concert" by the artist, Vermeer. This piece was the first piece acquired by Isabella Gardner.

My Thoughts: A few years ago, the Art Forger was featured on Bookreporter website from the BEA in NYC.  Why, you must wonder why it took me this long to read this? Good question! I knew this novel would be a good one. I hate to read a book that I know I am going to love. Once I read it, experience it, it will be gone.  I know stupid, but that is my thought process.  

 Our book club is reading this one for next month. I will follow up with our book club post as soon as we have our meeting  I enjoyed reading, The Art Forger.

 It is a smart, escape book that makes you think at the same time.  The novel is multi-layered with such imagination.  If you like a novel that is different, like I said before and you like art, and a bit of mystery, and wonder what is beneath the cover( painting) than this novel is for you.  You won't believe who actually did it!!!( in the novel, not in real life). But, the only thing the ending was a let down. 

 After reading the novel I did my own research on the many topics, and themes in the book.  Who should acquire the masterpieces?". Since it is a part of history should they be privately owned, or should the be exhibited and displayed for public view in the museums around the world?".  You are also probably wondering why are the famous work of art so valuable, and to whom?

My thoughts about that is the statutes of limitation runs out after a certain amount of time. For the Gardner Heist it is already reached. Nothing can be done to them. At this point most people don't care about the criminals. They, like me just want to see the pieces back where they belong, safe and sound.  Most likely some of the pictures are destroyed or damaged. The thieves don't realize there are precautions that should be taken  to protect these very old masterpieces.  We may never see these pictures again. That is what is so sad. Some people are hopeful they will surprise us one day, when we least expect it and resurface after a couple of generations after the publicity has died down. Most of the criminals don't even realize what they have. From the Gardner heist most of them have already died. 

My book club happens to be reading this for our upcoming book club in August. I will post my thoughts soon about that here as well. 

I loved it! 

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World Book Night Suspends Operations

 I just learned the World Book Night is suspending their operations. So, sad but I wasn't surprised. It was very ex

Spreading the Love of Reading,
Person to Person
Dear World Book Night U.S. friend,

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers--and you, our amazing givers!--are too high to sustain.

This has been a remarkable, passionate undertaking, and it has been a success by all measures, except for one: Outside funding. For three years, the publishing industry and book community have very generously footed the bill and contributed enormous time and effort, and we are so very grateful for all the support.

We did receive some funds via individual donations, and we worked very hard to get grants. We did get some, but there are a lot of other worthy causes out there and only so much money available. We can't carry on without significant, sustainable outside funding.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: "World Book Night's first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people's lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part."

WBN U.S. Exec Director Carl Lennertz added: "Some of you know our names here, but I want to be sure you know these--Laura Peraza and Carolyn Schwartz. They have been here since day one, and they, along with you, are my heroes. Alia Almeida joined us this year and was a creative force. A list of all the booksellers, librarians, authors, and folks in publishing and at Ingram would be too long to include here, but they know who they are and I know they have loved being a part of this beautiful thing we did together."

We are staying on hand through the summer without pay to maintain social media contact with you all, to talk good books, and to announce the winner of the giver essay contest.

YOU, the givers, made it possible for WBN to reach its full potential. For us here at World Book Night, this experience has been life-changing, as we hope it has been for you and recipients of the books. Our gratitude to you is simply immeasurable.

With much love, appreciation, and admiration, thank you!
Team WBN U.S
pensive even with the large supporters. Just think of the cost of shipping and advertising cost.
After three years which thousands of volunteer givers distributed over a million and ha half world book night paperbacks across America, we have to suspend operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S. even given a significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, givers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributor, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional funding. 

I was involved twice for WBN. The first time I  was involved I did not have as fun as the second time. I think the first time I did not know what I was doing.  I had thought to do it at my job, where I work. The second time I ventured out and thought outside the box.  The best time I did it, was at the beach. I loved the expression of people's faces when I approached them. Probably thinking what is a stranger coming to me for.  These are strange times we live in. Most people don't approach people on a beach unless you know them. So the look on their faces were priceless.

I would like to thank World Book Night, because I doubt that day will forgotten. I would like to thank you for the experience of being involved in this venture.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Love and Treasure Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Love and Treasure
By Ayelet Waldman
Publsished by Knopf 

I am so happy I was given the opportunity to read Love and Treasures. I would like to thank Amy from, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for asking me to host.  I am so honored with this wonderful book.
Thank You Amy! :) 

  I learned about this novel months ago by the Jewish Book Council.  I contacted the publishers with great excitement. Asking if they would like to participate in donating a few copies for our Jewish Night Out with Rabbi Debbie. They gladly gave us a few copies.

But then, Amy also helped me out, because I didn't receive them.  She asked if I would like to review.  Of course, she didn't have to break my leg or anything. I have always wanted to read Ayelet Waldman's work.  I have not read any of her novels.  But, this one sounded so interesting and something I did not know anything about.  It is rich in history and detail I couldn't pass it up.  But also, it may be a book that we will pick for our Jewish Grand Strand Reads which will be decided on in August.

This is one book I want to do justice to. After I finished it I had to absorb, digest and process my thoughts and then ponder it again. There is so many themes, and resources on the internet. After you read the novel, if you are like me you want to do your own research.

From the book Jacket: A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes. Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasures weaves a tale around the fascinating true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

Love and Treasures are three inter-related stories. From the beginning of the novel at present day.  Her grandfather, Jack served in the military during WW2. Natalie came to visit her grandfather. Natalie, is visiting since her marriage is in shambles anyway.  On his last few days before he dies he wants Natalie to make a promise. He has something that he wants her to find the rightful owner of a piece of Jewelry that he has kept in his possession since the war.  He doesn't care if she gives it to the rightful original owner. He just wants her to give it back to the family, someone that is still alive.

We then turn back the clock to Salzburg, Hungary in 1945. The short history lesson is here, or you can read the longer version here. I will just warn you it is extensive. Jack, a Jewish American soldier. He is guarding the train. Because what is inside is very valuable. Millions of stolen contraband and treasures are stolen from the holocaust prisoners. It is not junk, but watches, jewels, fur coats, wedding bands, expensive family heirlooms that are stolen and put on this train to Hungary

Jack meets a red headed beauty named, Ilona and falls deeply in love with her. She is a holocaust survivor. She is starving, with clothing tattered, but she is still a raving beauty. He feels responsibility for her. Jack tells Ilona about the contraband.  He shows her the necklace of the peacock. He thinks this will win her over.

The United States officers start helping themselves of the linens, towels, dishes, furs, silverware, silver frames, painting, and expensive jewels, that have been confiscated.  But, what can he do. So, instead he helps himself too to it.
Ilona invites Jack to the party. He meets organizers that are taking survivors over to the Italian alps to Palestine. But, he doesn't trust them.  The Mossad( which is not the entire name, it is not connected to the Jewish secret police). They are a group trying to get the Jewish survivors over the Italian alps, Iliona leaves him, instead she goes with the group to Palestine. They never see each other again.

Part 2,  brings us back to present day. After Jack dies Natalie searches out for a art dealer that will help her find out about the Peacock necklace and bring her to the owner of the necklace. But the art dealer, Amatai,  is a shady, Israeli art dealer. The art dealer recognizes the necklace and thinks it is the same necklace from a  famous painting he has seen.

The third part of the book is about Nina and a psychoanalyst named, you guessed it Freud. It takes place in Budapest, 1913.   Nina's father had thought she was having a medical condition called hysteria. All caused because of her ideas of women's suffrage. He thought it was interconnected with her menstrual cycle. This was the original owner of the necklace.Then we have a young girl back in 1913, and her father has her seen a psychoanalyst by the name, you guessed it, Freud.  This part of the story deals with dwarfism and Mengele.  It is a very interesting interlocking story how the three stories finally connect.

At first, when I was reading the third part of the story I thought this was far fetched. But after reading and pondering about it. I thought how original. I did read other people's take on this part. Some people liked it, others didn't.  But I did.

My Thoughts, I loved Love and Treasures. It is thick in history and very multi-layered. There is so much information. But still the story works.  While reading Love and Treasures I did a lot of research on my own. I found so many resources about this time period.  There were many events and government legalities that were going on.

The story is not heavy handed in atrocities during the holocaust.  There has been too many books written about the holocaust that unfortunately too much has caused people to shy away from it. But this book, Love and Treasures doesn't make it heavy handed

.I enjoyed her writing style, and her prose. The story is very different how it develops. By the third part you may have a hard time dealing with it.  Many people I saw said that didn't like the third part, and what was the point.

There is so much history and background information why the Hungarian Gold Train is important to the United States, to the Jews, and even to holocaust survivors that are trying to escape through the Italian Alps to Palestine( Israel).

I am still trying to decide if this will be contention in the Jewish Grand Strand Reads. Or if it would do better in one of my two book clubs.  The last book I felt this way was Golem and the Jinni. That one was also rich in history, and character.  There is controversy in this story as well.  The United States stationed in Hungary stole millions of dollars of riches, and contraband.  They wanted all the comforts of home where they were stationed.  They needed towels, blankets, dishes, silverware.  So where do you think they got it, of course the Hungarian Gold Train.  There was a settlement a few years ago in the United States ruling of what restitution will result.

If you like historical fiction, and you are Jewish you most likely will love it. But, even if you are not Jewish the writing is wonderful, and beautifully written.

I also want to share with you a conversation that I found on youtube with her at the Strand Book Store.

About the Author

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”
For more information please visit Ayelet’s website. Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.
Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 27
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 28
Guest Post at Passion for Novels
Thursday, May 29
Review at Mari Reads
Friday, May 30
Review at She Reads Novels
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 4
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Thursday, June 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, June 6
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Monday, June 9
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, June 10
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, June 11
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, June 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, June 18
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 19
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, June 20
Review at Curling Up with a Good Book
Monday, June 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 25
Review at Lit Nerd
Thursday, June 26
Review at The Little Reader Library
Friday, June 27
Review at Man of la Book
Monday, June 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, July 2
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf
Thursday, July 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Mourning of Israeli Teens

 It was 18 days ago that these teenage boys went missing. It was hard not to hear about it. If you are Jewish it was all over the news, on facebook, on social media, etc. If you did not hear about it, your head must have been in the sand.

It is so sad, to hear about this in the news yesterday, about the three teenage boys that were were missing for 18 days.

They were kidnapped and killed very shortly after their abduction by terrorists.   The Jewish world is very sad to hear the news.  I was  hoping that they would be found without incident. I had hoped the teenage boys may have just went out on a joy spree.  That was wishful thinking, because you don't hear of those things happening in Israel.

I am not sure what the significance but most Jews know the number 18 has significance. The number 18 stands for "life".  Maybe there is something in g-ds plan that we don't know about yet.

Today, I was on Facebook. An old friend in Israel that I knew in USY  lives in Israel posted that there is another death. This time, it is a Palestinian teenager.  I hope that this is not going to play out politically. That now, someone is going to pin it on Israel. Saying, Israel did this in retribution for the three Jewish boys killed.  Then their will be another terrorist attack, and it will go back and forth like it did a few years ago. Their memory will be in vain if that is the case.

During this sad time, all Jews across the world are together and mourning the three boys.  May they be blessed.

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Expats: Book Review

The Expats
By Chris Pavone

The Expat's, is also the author of  The Accident. Expats,  is a perfect"beach read" for the summer months. What was done to whom, whom is the guilty person, or is it just one person, or is everyone guilty of something.

I started reading this book a few years ago on audio from Myrtle Beach to Greenville SC for a course I had to take.  I am not a " audio type" of person. But driving four hours by myself for the first time. I wanted to try it out.  I can't multi- task.  So, I am sure this will lead you to the conclusion it didn't go very well.  You are absolutely right?  But, the book as a audio after I took the trip. I bought the book.  I waited two years until it was brought up for a book club pick.  I am so happy that we read it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I was reading the book it was like watching the movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith( Jolie-Pitt).

The author, Chris Pavone wrote this after his trip to Europe.  The book made me feel that Luxembourg was character. I love authors that can make you feel like you are there.

Our book club, The Beach Babes Book Brigade discussed this book this month. We all basically agreed on the main points. The book was not about spies, and thriller. This was about a marriage, and how you can trust your spouse.

 We all enjoyed reading the novel.  I hope to read his novel, Accident soon as well.

Kate and Dexter are husband and wife in the United States. Kate works undercover for the FBI.  Her husband is offered a wonderful job in Europe, specifically Luxembourg.  She has to decide that she must give up the job in the United States. Her husband is working for a exclusive bank in cybersecurity. She become a stay at home mom. Life is good, but then she starts becoming suspicious of everyone around her.

She meets a couple of other Expats, she becomes suspicious of them as well.  She then learns more about them and that is when the story really, gets interesting.  Who can you trust? Do you really know your husband? Do you tell your spouse everything? Or are some things kept secret?

Kate has built a new life for herself.  But she doesn't trust anybody? It seems everyone is keeping secrets? Is this the FBI training in her? Or is there something to worry about?  Kate is trying to reinvent herself from undercover to a stay at home mom. Is this possible? Does her instincts tell her different?

Do you trust your husband? If you are suspicious do you turn him in? If he is doing something and you know about it, can you live with yourself?  I just loved this book.  Expats is really not a typical thriller. It is a sexy, creative novel that makes you think about who you are? Can you live with yourself etc?

Thank you Chris for allowing me to review.

My Rating: 

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One Thousand White Women: Book Review

One Thousand White Women By Jim Fergus I have been looking forward to reading, One Thousand White Women. S...